- The EFF took disrupting parliamentary sittings to a new level.
- EFF MPs jumped on to the stage on which President Cyril Ramaphosa was to deliver the SONA.
- Heavily armed police officers then stormed the stage to protect Ramaphosa.
EFF MPs were met by heavily armed tactical police officers when they stormed the stage on which President Cyril Ramaphosa was to deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Minutes after National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula reminded MPs of the rules as to when they were allowed to speak, EFF leader Julius Malema raised a point of order.
Malema said Ramaphosa took Parliament to court, so he “has no leg to stand on… to address us. He said he had no right to call the joint sitting”.
The court case Malema was referring to was Ramaphosa asking the Constitutional Court to review the report of the independent panel on Phala Phala, which was appointed by Parliament.
Mapisa-Nqakula ordered EFF MPs to leave the chamber – and, as they walked out, some of them stormed the stage.
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Within seconds of the EFF storming the stage, officers attached to the Parliamentary Protection Services stopped the EFF MPs from getting to Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa’s bodyguards and the heavily armed police officers scuffled with some EFF MPs, including party leader Julius Malema.
Ramaphosa sat quietly amid the commotion.
Mapisa-Nqakula called all security forces into the City Hall and, together with Public Order Police, helped move the rowdy MPs out of the precinct.
After the EFF MPs were removed, DA leader John Steenhuisen said the security services were already in the House before the Speaker called them, and they had firearms.
Steenhuisen asked Mapisa-Nqakula to examine the footage and ensure the rules were upheld.
In response, Mapisa-Nqakula said EFF MPs “were not invited to climb the stage where the president was sitting”.
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“Rules or no rules”, she said, because climbing the stage immediately threatens the “principal”.
Furthermore, she said they would have to go back to the Hansard and the recordings.
Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said Ramaphosa’s life had been threatened and the security forces had acted upon that.
After the drama, Ramaphosa continued with his speech, while EFF MPs spoke to journalists outside the venue.