3 September 2014

South Africa: Parliament Diary - Revolutionaries and Rhinos


Calm, of a sort, appeared to have returned to Parliament's National Assembly on Tuesday, following the drama almost a fortnight ago which saw riot police called in to expel members of the Economic Freedom Fighters who refused to leave the House after demanding to know when President Jacob Zuma would pay back the money he owes for Nkandla. Speaker Baleka Mbete confirmed that the matter would be left to Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee to resolve, but there was no sign that the Fighters were feeling daunted.

Tuesday was supposed to see an unremarkable plenary sitting of the National Assembly. A debate on the plight of the rhinos was scheduled: surely one issue, at least, that political parties were unlikely to come to blows over. But even before proceedings kicked off, there were subtle reminders of 21 August's events on the periphery: a smattering of (non-riot) police stationed outside the House; and seemingly stricter regulations than normal governing access to the Press Gallery.

The man who caused all the trouble last time, Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema, was nowhere to be seen. His fellow fighters were there to carry the revolutionary gauntlet, though the hard hats weren't in appearance....

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