Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) walk past South African police after being thrown out by the Speaker of Parliament during the State Of the Nation Address in Cape Town. Picture: Nic Bothma/EPA

Cape Town - The government has slammed the chaos that erupted during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

It has also rejected claims that the security forces called in Parliament acted in the interest of the ruling party instead of the state.

“The events that unfolded before our eyes were aimed at bring our democracy into serious disrepute,” Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe told reporters in Cape Town.

This follows the Economic Freedom Fighters being shown the door after continuously demanding Zuma to answer when he would pay back the money they believe he owes taxpayers for security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Radebe said the mayhem “dishonoured” the lives of those who had sacrificed their lives to bring about democracy in the country.

Following the EFF been given the boot, the Democratic Alliance and the United Democratic Movement staged a mass walkout. They were angry that the speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, would not answer questions if armed police helped assist in marching the EFF out of Parliament as it is meant to be protected by its own protection services.

“If you cannot confirm it was the police… our party will leave the house,” DA Parliamentary leader Musi Maimane said.

The start of proceedings was marred by shouting matches, with various MPs attempting to raise points of order.

The interruption was expected. EFF leader Julius Malema has been warning for months that he would demand answers from Zuma.

The president has been accused of avoiding Parliament so that he does not have to answer questions around Nkandla.

Mbete was adamant that the president would answer questions, but Sona was not the correct platform.

“If you insist on raising questions… this house has to proceed with the business of the state of the nation address being delivered today without any hinderance ,” she said.

Before Malema was thrown out he said: “You are not doing me any favour, it is within my right to speak as a member of this house. The rules must apply when the president speaks. We want the president to answer a simple question when is he paying the money as directed by the Public Protector… do not be emotional about it.”

The proceedings got off to a rocky start with MPs demanding to know why the cellphone signals were jammed in the National Assembly.

Radebe could not answer questions why the jamming had occured, saying questions should be directed to Parliament’s presiding officers.

Political Bureau