South Africa’s parliamentary protection services forcibly removed members of the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters party from the chamber on Wednesday as they attempted to disrupt proceedings ahead of an address by President Jacob Zuma.
The EFF parliamentarians were ejected by parliament’s Speaker after ignoring several warnings for order after they tried to prevent Zuma from speaking following recent court orders against him.
This included a High Court ruling on April 29 to overturn a previous decision seven years ago dropping 783 corruption charges against Zuma when he was still the country’s deputy president. [nL5N17W322]
In April, the scandal-plagued Zuma survived an impeachment vote in parliament launched by the opposition after the constitutional court ruled he had ignored an order to repay state funds spent on his private home. [nL5N17812K]
On Wednesday, Zuma seemed unfazed by the chaotic scenes that preceeded his address, delivering a speech that focussed on the government’s plans to grow a stagnating economy hit hard by a global commodities rout.
“Economic transformation remains pivotal to ensuring a better life for all,” Zuma told parliament.
Zuma’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), which backed him after a public backlash over his recent scandals, faces a tough battle against the official opposition Democratic Alliance party and the EFF at local polls on August 3.
Facing a waning electoral majority that has ensured its stranglehold since white minority rule ended in 1994, the ANC is facing its toughest test in decades for the control of key cities, including economic power hub Johannesburg.