Tensions flare in Parly as Zuma accused of failing to give straight answers

President Jacob Zuma has flatly denied he’s ever instructed any state institution to give contracts to anyone.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma in Parliament. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma has been accused of failing to give Members of Parliament (MPs) straight answers in the National Assembly and Speaker Baleka Mbete has been slammed for letting him get away with it.

Zuma’s oral reply session has been marked by fraught exchanges and chants of “answer the question,” while Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs walked out in solidarity with their members who were ordered to leave the chamber after clashing with deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

The EFF delayed the start of the session with repeated objections to Zuma being there at all; the party sees him as a “constitutional delinquent” after the Constitutional Court found he broke his oath of office over the Nkandla scandal.

President Zuma has flatly denied he’s ever instructed any state institution to give contracts to anyone and says he’s never been in any meeting where he asked for favours for his son Duduzane.

Dissatisfied with some of his answers MPs showed their disdain by chanting: “Answer the question, answer the question, answer the question.”

They challenged the presiding officers for failing to help them hold the president to account.

Tsenoli ordered the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi to leave the Chamber.

“You can’t chase the members of the House out on the basis of demanding answers from ‘Ubaba ka Duduzane’… then we’re rendering this session useless,” Ndlozi said.

When Tsenoli threatened to call in protection services, the entire EFF caucus departed, waving their makarapas in defiance.

ANOTHER COUNTRY’S AFFAIRS

Meanwhile, Zuma has also said government is very careful not to interfere in the domestic affairs of another country.

He was responding to a question by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on why he did not condemn human rights violations in Zambia during a recent visit to the country.

Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was in the public gallery of the National Assembly.

Hichilema was recently released from prison after spending three months behind bars on treason charges.

But Zuma says he does not get involved in the politics of another country.

"If countries get into problems, we’re not an opposition in Zambia, we can’t go there and participate in either side,
because if the leader of the opposition in Zambia if he wins elections, we’ll leave it to that party."

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)