Sopa speaker applauded for managing EFF interruptions

Premier David Makhura's speech was interrupted six times by EFF MPs who accused him of lying.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) disrupted Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province Address on 23 February 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNEBURG - Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature Ntombi Mekgwe has been praised for remaining calm during several interruptions to the State of the Province Address on Monday, which Premier David Makhura delivered at the provincial legislature.

Makhura's speech was interrupted by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) six times. They accused him of lying to the public.

Despite being the interruptions, the premier went ahead with his address.

WATCH: The EFF's attempt to disrupt Makhura speech falls flat.

Reports suggested that the MPs met at the Vaal over the weekend to discuss the planned disruptions.

The Democratic Alliance's (DA) John Moodey said he didn't believe the EFF achieved what they wanted and insisted that the speaker's reaction should be applauded.

"She allowed them to have their say and she just stuck to the rules. I don't know what they had hoped to get out of it, but it's obviously failed."

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the continuous objections reflected a trend in the EFF.

"It's regrettable; I think it demeans the decorum of the house. But secondly I want congratulate the manner in which the speaker dealt with it.

Outside the legislature riot police formed a barrier between EFF and ANC supporters, who hurled insults at each other during the premier's speech.

Makhura, meanwhile, used his Sopa to highlight his concerns over violence against foreign shop owners and the state of crime and corruption in the province.

He also raised concerns about the high levels of murder and other violent crimes over the past few months, which he has raised with the national police.

"I am deeply concerned that the fight against crime is undermined by infighting and conflict among the top echelons of the South African Police Service in our province."

The premier also said his office would be tough on corruption, but an EFF member insisted that this should start with the ANC.

ECONOMIC GROWTH IN GAUTENG

Makhura, furthermore, laid out his government's plans to develop economies around Gauteng, saying government would promote economic growth through billions of rands in investment.

The premier said the Johannesburg CBD, Ekurhuleni's industrial areas; the West Rand, Sedibeng and the City of Tshwane would be the main focus areas.