- Opposition parties in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature staged a walkout on Tuesday after Jacob Zuma made a surprise appearance in the chamber
- The DA, NFP and EFF refused to continue sitting for the agriculture budget speech, arguing that Zuma was not permitted in the legislature house chamber
- Zuma was allegedly invited as a guest by agriculture and rural development MEC Themba Mthembu
Opposition parties in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature staged a walkout on Tuesday after former president Jacob Zuma made a surprise appearance in the legislature house chamber. Zuma was allegedly invited as a guest by agriculture and rural development MEC Themba Mthembu.
The DA, EFF and NFP refused to continue sitting for the scheduled agriculture budget speech after Zuma took his place with ANC officials in the wings of the chamber. The opposition argued that Zuma was not permitted in the chamber.
The NFP and DA both accused the former president of being largely responsible for the looting of state coffers thereby doing untold damage to the economy. Both parties refused to share the chamber with Zuma because he was central to state capture in conjunction with the Guptas.
Premier Willies Mchunu tried to restore calm by explaining Zuma was just a guest and would not take part in proceedings, but his attempt had little effect on disgruntled members of the opposition.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the NFP chairperson Vikizitha Mlotshwa said all guests should be seated in the gallery. She said Zuma’s presence was proof of the ANC’s continued factionalism in KwaZulu-Natal.
News24.com reported that Mlotshwa said: "It is not permitted unless you are a member of the provincial legislature or an official of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature delegated for a specific task. The decision to allow former president Jacob Zuma was driven by ANC factions happening in the province."
The DA’s Francois Rodgers said Zuma’s attendance showed the ANC was not concerned with the well-being of the people of the province.
He added: "It is clear that the battle lines have been drawn in KZN, with one faction of the ANC pledging its undying support to Zuma, while the other sides with new president Cyril Ramaphosa. It cannot be a coincidence that Ramaphosa made an unannounced visit to address ANC leadership yesterday and today Zuma makes his own unannounced appearance."
The EFF said Zuma had disrupted what would and should have been a normal meeting.
ANC chief whip Nontembeko Boyce said Zuma was seated in the wings of the house where dignitaries and guests are usually seated.
Boyce said Zuma had the right, as a former president and invited guest, to sit in that part of the chamber.
DA provincial spokesman on agriculture and rural development‚ Sizwe Mchunu, however, claimed Zuma had been seated in the area which is reserved for HOD’s or King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Mchunu said the DA’s protest was based on the weak economy and other challenges which face the government because of Zuma’s leadership.
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