Events slowly came to a head on Tuesday in the South African parliament as the members of parliament got a chance to debate the speech of the incumbent president, Jacob Zuma in the country’s legislative capital of Cape Town. The members of the opposition were generous with their demonization of President Zuma with some calling him an ‘unhonourable’ man and others accusing him of trampling on the legacy of Madiba, the country’s first democratically elected president.
The first to start the shooting was the opposition Democratic Alliance’s parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane who lambasted the President for the behavior of his party members on the Thursday when the State of the Nation address was presented. He went on to say that every South African knew that, based on Thursday’s events, the democracy of the country was in grave danger. He referred to the president as an unhonourable and broken man who was presiding over a broken country. Said Maimane in his attack, “Honourable President, we will never forgive you for what you have done.” The DA leader told Zuma that people could blame apartheid, the global financial system, even Jan van Riebeeck, for South Africa’s woes, but “in our hearts, we know what the problem is. We have allowed one powerful man to get away with too much for too long. This man is here in our presence today. Honourable President, in these very chambers, just five days ago, you broke parliament.” The President, however, did not seem to be perturbed by these comments as he continued to smile.
The button was then handed over the firebrand red-clad leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema who started firing from the hip as soon as he got onto the podium. He referred to Zuma as a hooligan for the tactics he had used to expel the members of his party, accusing them of ‘pulling them by their private parts’ when they were thrown out of parliament. Using an emotionally charged voice, he insisted that they were not afraid of Zuma and would use every means available to them to rid the country of him. Warming to his address, Juju went on to accuse the ruling party of stealing his party’s policy on the economic freedom which were expounded by his party. He went on to quote several figures of his own to disprove the ruling ANC’s ‘good story’ to tell. He further quoted the Freedom Charter which stated that everyone had a right to occupy land where they wanted but the ANC had recently barred people from taking up unoccupied land. Malema further warned the president that his party would not relent on the question of overspending on his Nkandka when parliament sits again on March 11.