President Jacob Zuma repeatedly ignored Parly Speaker Baleka Mbete


President Jacob Zuma repeatedly ignored Parly Speaker Baleka Mbete’s calls to sit down during his question and answer session in Parliament on Wednesday.zuma

Zuma faced a slew of questions, mostly relating to Nkandla questions last year, during his first appearance to answer questions by MPs this year.

The sitting started off heatedly with opposition parties repeatedly calling for Parliament to set a date to questions posed to him on 21 August, which was disrupted when EFF members chanted “pay back the money”.

When Zuma had taken the podium after points of order delayed his appearance for over an hour, DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimaneaccused the president of violating the Assembly by dodging questions and calls to appear in Parliament.

Zuma, who was often chuckled during the session, became visibly agitated by this remark, saying: “I have never violated Parliament and I have never dodged questions posted to me in this House.”

He went further to elaborate on the incident of 21 August when EFF members were ushered out, and said: “On that day this Parliament did not act honourably to me.”

Sapa reported that EFF spokespersonMbuyiseni Ndlozi rose to call Zuma out of order for referring to the fact that his party was sanctioned by the powers and privileges committee for their August protest, because it was still challenging the findings in court.

He replied that he was merely answering the question before him.

The president said he had answered the EFF’s question in August about when he would pay back the money, but because of the disruptions his answer was not heard and it was “not the answer they wanted”.

According to Reuters Zuma cut a different figure to the one he presented in Parliament last August when EFF MPs chanted “pay back the money”. Zuma has in the past defended the upgrades to his home and said accusations against him were unfair given the importance of protecting any head of state.

“Why do you say I should pay back the money and you don’t even know how much, you don’t even know whether the final answer will be that I should pay back the money.”

Zuma added that reports about him dodging questions and Parliament were false.

It was at this moment opposition MPs stood up on points of order. MPs, who could not wait to be recognised by Mbete, started making appeals to her to be heard.

Mbete repeatedly asked Zuma to stop and sit down so that MPs could be heard, but he defied her call and continue to push across his answer.

Zuma told Mbete he was unable to hear her requests because of MPs who had tried to “disrupt” his response to Maimane.