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Chaos erupts ahead of Zuma's Q&A session in Parliament

The president was about to answer the first question when EFF MPs brought up the Nkandla debacle.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has come to an abrupt halt with proceedings once again descending into a shouting match between Speaker Baleka Mbete and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

President Jacob Zuma was about to answer the first question on the list on Thursday afternoon when EFF Members of Parliament (MPs) demanded to know when he intends paying back the money spent on his Nkandla home.

The chaos began after the party's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called for a date and a time, accusing Zuma of making a mockery of their questions.

"He doesn't take this parliament seriously, he doesn't take the mandate of the people of this country seriously, he must pay back the money and he must tell us the date and time. Or else we are just going to be ridiculed and the other side laughs as if we are in some Trevor Noah show here."

Mbete then recognised African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Stone Sizani, saying he could speak and not Ndlozi, which provoked the ire of EFF leader Julius Malema.

"The member stood first on a point of order… you can't tell me to sit down. I will never sit down because I don't take instructions from you, and you are not going to be recognised under a special rule because there is nothing special about you. This Member of Parliament here stood first on a point of order."

When MPs began shouting across the room, Mbete suspended the sitting.

"Honourable members, I will briefly suspend the business for the purpose of asking the whips to meet in the secretary's office."

This is Zuma's first appearance in the house since the release of Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko's report into the Nkandla spending debacle.

Nhleko found Zuma did not have to pay a cent for the upgrades because all of the installations, including a swimming pool and visitor's centre, were built for his 'security'.

The president is scheduled to answer six questions in the house; none of them relate to the Nkandla spending debacle.

Party chief whips are meeting in a bid to resolve the impasse.

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