ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula has slammed the EFF MPs for storming the stage during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday, saying their conduct was not necessary.
EFF MPs led by leader Julius Malema, who held a poster with the words ‘Ramaphosa step down now,’ were kicked out by armed police officers and members of the parliamentary protection services after they climbed on the Sona stage, approaching President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was quickly circled by his protectors.
Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had ejected some EFF MPs after more than 30 minutes of points of orders before Ramaphosa could deliver his address.
Mbalula said Mapisa-Nqakula was within her rights to intervene when the EFF MPs stormed the podium.
He described the disruptions caused by the EFF as a sideshow and said the EFF cannot cause disruption in the House and that, when they are ejected by the security officials they cry foul.
Mbulala said the disruption during the Sona had undermined the rules of Parliament.
“You can’t promise the whole country that you want to stop Parliament and when you are stopped in your tracks because of your own actions you cry foul. It’s like asking for rain and when it rains you complain about mud,” said Mbalula.
He said the worst part was the chaos that ensued in the chamber and failure by the EFF to respect the rules.
“You undermine the rules of Parliament that are set. If the rules are undermined by the Speaker you can go to court.
“But when you charge at somebody on the platform with a poster and that person is the President, running with a poster to the podium, you are attacking. It could be interpreted in many ways.
“We as the ANC are not proud to see our Parliament turned into a war zone. But we support the actions that have been taken by the Speaker to ensure that the Sona awaited by the people of this country did go (ahead) and at the end the president gave the Sona,” said Mbalula.
Mapisa-Nqakula said she was within the rules of Parliament to call on the security forces to intervene.
This came after DA leader John Steenhuisen had questioned the involvement of armed police inside the Chamber before Mapisa-Nqakula had invited them.
But Mapisa-Nqakula said she had applied the law to prevent what was happening and protect members in the House.