MPs return after EFF’s disruptionComment on this story
Parliament - Members of Parliament started re-entering the National Assembly around 4pm on Thursday after Economic Freedom Fighters MPs disrupted business in the House.
Proceedings came to a sudden end earlier when they refused to leave after being repeatedly instructed to do so by Speaker Baleka Mbete.
The EFF members stood their ground and refused to leave the Assembly.
Long after being ordered to leave they were still sitting in their benches chanting and singing.
Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele and his successor as state security minister David Mahlobo were in the Chamber and appeared to be negotiating with EFF leader Julius Malema and Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu.
Several police officers were standing around the Chamber. The doors to the Chamber had been locked on those inside, including journalists.
The EFF members earlier disrupted proceedings while President Jacob Zuma was answering questions. Mbete instructed Malema and his fellow MPs to leave the House because they were “not serious” about proceedings.
Malema was not happy with Zuma's reply to a question about when he was going to “pay back” part of the money spent on the R246 million security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I will throw you out of the House if you don't listen,” Mbete shouted at EFF members, who responded by chanting “pay back the money”.
Mbete suspended proceedings and called security.
While Zuma and MPs from other political parties left the chamber, EFF members remained, still chanting “pay back the money”, and insisting they would not move.
EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu shouted at Mbete: “You won't remove us.”
Twitter was abuzz as South Africans watched the EFF refuse to leave the National Assembly after Speaker Baleka Mbete ordered them out.
Some on the social networking site praised the Economic Freedom Fighters for standing its ground, while others thought the party was making a mockery of Parliament.
For others it was entertaining.
@silentnoyse tweeted “Big up to the #eff for taking a stand.”
@shauntheprawn26 wrote: “While I don't always agree with the EFF has to say, in this case I am behind them. And at least they have the balls to stick to their guns.”
@clarencesdb said: “Eish...I better head down to parly....House party happening hosted by #EFF I wonder if Kent is playing!”
@AncCadres asked if “Mfundi Vundla must hire the EFF to replace the Generations stars! They're very good at entertainment!”
“EFF at it again! Screw Generations, there's Parliament!” said @KingKayII.
Others like @aandiswaa were not impressed with the EFF's behaviour, saying: “I don't find EFF entertaining, their actions at the National Assembly paint a very ugly picture about our country and the world is watching.”
“EFF members try so hard to be relevant #NationalAssembly,” said @BrightsonSA.
MPs tweeted blurry pictures of the EFF refusing to leave the National Assembly. - Sapa