Protest forces South Africa President to suspend speech

Elias Hubbard
February 14, 2020

Own Correspondent|South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly on Thursday but was unable to do so after almost an hour of disruptions by the vibrant opposition Economic Freedom Fighters.

"Honorable speaker, we have got a murderer in the house".

It is tradition for former presidents to attend the annual address given by a sitting president.

"It is an insult to those who died and were tortured during apartheid under instructions of De Klerk".

After almost an hour of disruption, the National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise temporarily suspended proceedings, telling the EFF "when you think you have unlimited freedom of speech to infringe on the rights of others, that is a disruption".

"I, therefore, suggest we please request de Klerk to leave this house".

She said it is the procedure for all former presidents who are still alive to be invited for the opening of parliament and dismissed the EFF's submission.

The Boipatong massacre is one of the bloodiest and brutal moments of popular violence that engulfed South Africa in the decade between 1984 and 1993; De Klerk was president of South Africa under the apartheid regime from 1989 to 1994.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise also came under fire for not ejecting the EFF members, who eventually left of their own accord.

Chants and constant interruptions delayed Ramaphosa's speech to the nation.

The opposition legislators were later sent out of Parliament at the resumption of proceedings.

"We also agree we must relook at the joint rules because they make it hard to take members out of the house", Modise said in response to the MP's comments. However, EFF MPs dressed in red overalls and berets remained outside parliament as other MPs went back to the house to listen to the president.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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