NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa: Zuma faces tough questions following address


Posted on Monday, 16 February 2015 10:49

South Africa: Zuma faces tough questions following address

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town

Members of South Africa's parliament are preparing for yet another showdown this week as parliamentarians are to respond to President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation address (SONA).

Zuma addressed the nation last week on government's policies and plans for the year.

However, the 2015 SONA was overshadowed by the chaos that accompanied it, while Zuma's speech was reduced to a footnote.

The chaos started when it was discovered that internet coverage within the chamber had been scrambled, so that nobody could send out messages and could not connect to the internet.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) demanded to know from the Speaker Baleka Mbete, when Zuma was going to "pay back the money" for upgrades to his home in Nkandla.

Mbete then asked them to leave the House, but as expected, the EFF refused and the Speaker then called security to eject them.

The EFF members were violently removed with some of its members injured.

Other opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance and Agang left the house soon thereafter following the fracas.

The Public Protector found that Zuma unduly benefitted from public funds in upgrading his house.

Some analysts pointed out that the day will be remembered as a turning point for the country's democracy.

Trade union federation, Cosatu said it was utterly deplorable that what ought to be a highlight of the parliamentary year and a showcase of the country's democracy became a violent shambles.

After the fracas, Zuma continued with his speech with a focus on the electricity crisis and that the "economy needed a major push forward" to ignite growth and create jobs.

Zuma emphasised the resolving the energy challenge, revitalising agriculture and the agro-processing value chain, advancing beneficiation or adding value to our mineral wealth and encouraging private sector investment.

Zuma also said there is need to boost the role of state owned companies, ICT infrastructure and broadband roll out, and improve water, sanitation and transport infrastructure.

MP's will respond to the address on Tuesday with Zuma responding to their questions later this week.

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