Durban - Former president Jacob Zuma stole KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala’s limelight as EFF and DA protested and walked out of the sitting of the provincial parliament in Pietermaritzburg. They were demanding that he be kicked out of the provincial parliament’s chamber.
The chaos ensued in the house prior to Zikalala delivering his maiden state of the province address on Friday. The two opposition parties were opposed to Zuma being allowed to sit on the chamber next to members of the provincial legislature (MPLs).
This delayed the Sopa by about 30 minutes.
Speaker Nontembeko Boyce rejected EFF and DA’s demand that Zuma be kicked out. The two parties walked out of the house leaving ANC and the IFP, the official opposition in KZN, along with smaller parties to listen to the Sopa.
Before Zikalala spoke, chaos erupted in the house as EFF and DA were vehemently opposing Zuma’s presence in chamber. They said if he wanted to watch Sopa, he should be seated in the gallery with ordinary members of the public.
Zuma, King Goodwill Zwelithini and former premier Willies Mchunu were among the guests who were allowed to sit in the chamber.
The complaint was first raised by DA MPL Francois Rodgers who was backed by his EFF counterparts Vusi Khoza and Mongezi Twala.
Khoza, who had earlier exchanged warm greetings with Zuma as he was walking in, said the opposition was surprised when they saw an entourage of bodyguards entering the chamber followed by the former president who was accompanied by his wife, Tobeka Madiba Zuma.
“We told the speaker that we have no objection with people coming into the chamber but it must be done according to the rule. The rule said no non-member must be inside the chamber. The rule said if a non-member comes into the chamber there must be consultation with all parties,” said Khoza.
Rodgers said allowing Zuma into the chamber without consultation was setting a bad precedent.
“This means I can now invite my wife to sit in the chamber and no one can remove her,” said Rodgers.
The ANC's KZN chief whip Super Zuma described the EFF and DA’s behaviour as childish and said it “smacks of extreme levels of ill-discipline”.
“Their walkout from the Legislature in the presence of the Zulu Monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu is visible sign of political immaturity and clearly being ill brought up.
“No matter how valued your point is, you never raise your voice in the presence of elders, in this in the presence of His Majesty,” said Zuma.