EFF leader Julius Malema has dared President Jacob Zuma to take him to court over allegations that the president was corrupt and using his position to enrich his family.
Malema and Zuma were embroiled in a shouting match when the president was taking questions from MPs in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The EFF leader lost his patience with Zuma after the president failed to directly answer his question as to why he had not taken any legal action against government officials who claimed to have witnessed him give instructions to top civil servants to help his son Duduzane with business ventures.
“Honourable speaker I don’t know if people are playing politics‚ people say things everyday about president Zuma in this country. Should I spend every day taking everybody to court who say a lot of things about me‚” said Zuma.
It was at this point that his interaction with Malema degenerated.
“No man‚ ngisakhuluma! (Wait a bit‚ I am still addressing the house)‚” said a visibly irritated Zuma‚ to which Malema shouted: “You can take action against me.”
In clearly sarcastic giggle‚ Zuma responded: “I don’t take action against people like yourself generally‚ I don’t.”
But the former ANC Youth League leader‚ who once proclaimed to defend Zuma with his life‚ was not to be outdone by the man he once helped propel to power.
“You can’t take action against me because you know we’re telling the truth‚” said Malema‚ as Speaker Baleka Mbete muted his microphone for defying her instructions to go back to his seat.
It was the first time Zuma came face to face with MPs since his narrow survival of the motion of no confidence in his leadership three weeks ago.
The session was ill-tempered and punctuated with insults‚ as EFF MPs called Zuma a “rapist and a criminal” although they were ordered to withdraw these by Mbete.
Malema and his EFF caucus eventually walked out of the chamber just 30 minutes before the end of the two-hour session.
DA MPs also sought to make life difficult for Zuma‚ repeatedly shouting “answer the question” when they felt Zuma was dodging pointed questions on state capture.
Zuma also used the opportunity to close ranks against one of his most controversial ministers‚ Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi.
He rejected suggestions from Agang’s Andries Tlouamma that Muthambi should be fired for her alleged role in running down the SABC when she was communications minister.
“I’m not firing minister Muthambi‚ I have not taken that decision‚” he said.
The president also defended SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni’s leadership‚ saying she was helping expose corruption.
EFF MPs had referred to Myeni as Zuma’s girlfriend but ANC MP Hlomane Chauke asked Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli that they be ordered to withdraw the statements. The matter was not concluded.
By: Thabo Mokone
Source: TMG Digital.