20 June 2014

South Africa: Post-Sona Debate - the President Yawns Back


On Friday, President Jacob Zuma had a second bite at the State of the Nation cherry: the opportunity to respond to two days of highly acrimonious debate in the National Assembly. Did he come out fighting? Did he smoothly allay concerns? Did he smack down the bolshy parliamentary newcomers? No, no and no. What Zuma delivered was essentially a second, even drier, version of the State of the Nation Address - while EFF supporters took to the street outside parliament to call for his head.

Julius Malema and the EFF took up their seats in the National Assembly on Friday morning as if Thursday's events had been a bad dream. As if Malema had not refused to withdraw his statement that the ANC government massacred the Marikana miners; as if chair Thandi Modise had not ordered him to leave the Assembly; as if Malema's MPs had not followed him out, yelling "Murderers!" at those left behind.

Malema's expulsion only applied to the remainder of Thursday's parliamentary session, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's out of hot water. On Friday, chair Thandi Modise described the EFF's behaviour as "disruptive and unacceptable", and a contravention of parliament's rules. Modise...

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