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#Sona2017: Defence minister again defends deployment of soldiers to Parliament

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the soldiers were only deployed as a back-up security measure.

SANDF members rehearse for the opening of Parliament as President Jacob Zuma will give his Sona. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has defended the deployment of Defence Force troops for the opening of Parliament.

She says the soldiers were only deployed as a back-up security measure.

“Eventually if we have had a calamity, and I want to repeat, a calamity, and the police are overwhelmed and take a decision that they need support, they would have called on the soldiers that are on site. They would have had to do that.”

'ZUMA'S SPEECH WAS RECYCLED

At the same time, opposition Members of Parliament say President Jacob Zuma’s speech in Parliament was recycled

United Democratic Movement Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa says he doubts whether policies announced by Zuma will materialise.

“Initiatives that the president spoke about, initiatives that he mentioned in the past but failed to implement. Look at this one stop shop Invest SA, the initiative was mentioned last year but its first branch is only going to be opened this year.”

The Freedom Front Plus’s Pieter Groenewald says, “We knew that he was going to focus on the so called radical transformation of the economy and what he actually said tonight was what the ANC Lekgotla decided on.”

Watch: 'Rotten to the core!' - Julius Malema in full flight at #Sona2017

MALEMA VOWS TO FIGHT ON
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has vowed to continue to hold Zuma accountable whenever he is in Parliament.

Parliamentary Protection Services officials earlier ejected the EFF MP’s after they refused to obey orders from the presiding officers.

Malema said Zuma has broken his oath of office, therefore he cannot address Members of Parliament.

“We are not going to be intimidated by soldiers, by police or criminals who are hell bent at defending a constitutional delinquent – a man who is prepared to violate the Constitution. They are ready to chase out people who break the rules of Parliament but prepared to defend a man who broke his oath of office.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)