Parliament Antics: President Jacob Zuma was savaged in parliament yesterday, with opposition MPs labelling him “illegitimate” and that he is not honourable enough to lead the country. UDM leader Bantu Holo-misa said ANC members in parliament were just “instruments” to be used. DA leader Mmusi Maimane and his EFF counterpart, Julius Malema, both directed intensely personal remarks at the president. Yesterday’s debate on the State of the Nation speech saw some of the fiercest exchanges yet seen in the House of Assembly. First on the attack was Maimane, who invoked the imaginary “Planet Zuma” to highlight his point that the president was living in a different world from the majority of South Africans. On this fictitious planet “all the continents fit into Africa” and a swimming pool could be a fire pool.
Zuma sat stony-faced through it all, occasionally smiling as speaker after speaker tore into his leadership record. Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies argued that there was a lot to be proud of in South Africa –even in an economy that had been hard-hit by global woes. Malema started his speech by stating he would not take part in a debate with an “illegitimate” president before covering the issues facing the poor – saying poor people lived and died “like pigs”. Malema apologised to former president Thabo Mbeki, saying he had personally led the charge against him after a meeting with Zuma in which Zuma indicated he did not want to work with Mbeki. Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu attacked the opposition, saying they brought nothing to the table and that all they were good at was discussing individuals and not ideas.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa condemned the conduct of some of the opposition MPs, saying it was “a flagrant abuse of parliamentary rules and our democracy”.