News / Africa

South African Parliament Outburst Causes Order and Disorder

Julius Malema, center, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party stands outside Parliament after he and party members heckled South African President Jacob Zuma, Cape Town, South Africa, Aug. 21, 2014.
Julius Malema, center, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party stands outside Parliament after he and party members heckled South African President Jacob Zuma, Cape Town, South Africa, Aug. 21, 2014.
Anita Powell

The newest party in South Africa's parliament, the Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF, is facing a two-week suspension after getting into a shouting match with members of the ruling ANC party.

No one expected the EFF representatives to behave once they got into South Africa’s parliament: The far-left party is led by Julius Malema, who was expelled from the ANC for causing trouble within the party and presided over election rallies full of pumped-up, angry youths.

In recent months, Malema has been increasingly vocal about his former hero, President Jacob Zuma, who is dogged by a corruption scandal. And so no one was surprised when the party courted danger by getting into a shouting match during a parliament session last week.

As a result of that outburst, the party’s 25 members may now face a 14-day suspension.

The exchange started when Malema asked Zuma directly when he intended to follow the recommendation of South Africa's anti-corruption czar and pay back government money allegedly used to improve his private homestead, Nkandla.

Zuma responded that he had already answered, which prompted this bout between EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu and parliament speaker Baleka Mbete of the ANC:

Shivambu: Can we please be provided with answers, not hiding behind...

Mbete: Honorable member, that’s not a point of order. Please take your seat. Take your seat, Shivambu, take your seat. I have not recognized you.

Shivabmu: And he has not answered the question of when he will pay the money.

Mbete: Honorable Shivambu, I will throw you out of the house. … Take your seat, I am presiding.

Female EFF member: We want the money.

Mbete: Take your seat, I will have to ask the sergeant at arms. Sergeant at arms, please assist me with relieving the members who are in in this house who are not serious about this seating to take their leave.

Shivambu: We are serious, chair, we are raising a point of order.

Female member: All we are asking is that he pay back the money, why are we getting thrown out?

Other EFF member: That money, Nkandla, must be paid. You can’t hide behind presidents.

Mbete: Honorable members, I’m calling the security.

EFF member: We want money!

Mbete: The house is suspended for three minutes.

This whole affair has predictably drawn the ire of the powerful ANC, which has won every election since 1994.

In describing the EFF, ANC parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo sounds like an exasperated schoolteacher talking about a class bully.

“It has been disruptive on more than one occasion," said Mothapo. "It has refused to abide by the commonly agreed rules of the national assembly. It is a party that does not really place its emphasis or importance on debate or a contribution of a superior debate on matters of national importance, but using its minority to push its opinions down the throats of people that disagree with them by using disruptive tactics that borders on nothing but hooliganism."

Mothapo says the ANC wants a strong opposition, but wants them to behave. And so parliament will meet Tuesday to consider whether to suspend the EFF from parliament.

Analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says any possible suspension probably won’t change the party’s fortunes or attitude, explaining that even if others agree with the EFF, the ANC has such an overwhelming majority in parliament that it won’t add up to much in terms of lawmaking.

“That, however, does not mean that the ANC itself is not facing a crisis,"  said Matshiqi. "Because it’s very clear to me that in five minutes last Thursday, the EFF achieved something that the DA and other opposition parties have failed to achieve in 20 years: to highlight the fact that the ruling party, and the president, have been hiding behind parliamentary rules when they don’t want to be accountable,"

An EFF spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the matter.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: max ajida from: pretoria ,
August 29, 2014 6:52 PM
Zuma has lost his credibility as ruler of this country. The ANC have abused the name of Nelson Mandela. Eff is there to get answers for the people. Its not disruptive but wants answers

by: Refiloe mncube from: white city
August 29, 2014 3:03 PM
Juju u dealIng wit zuma.he is an uneducatd president hu is aftr money n his witchcraft nxa

by: Jan from: Pretoria
August 29, 2014 2:54 PM
Hooliganism: the ruling communist party accuses their enemies of hooliganism (instead of answering their question, for once a good one). Clearly they spent a lot of time in the USSR.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs