DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane has labelled President Jacob Zuma a broken man presiding over a broken society.
In a hard hitting speech delivered during the debate on the state of the nation address, Maimane accused Zuma of breaking Parliament last week when security personnel were deployed to strong-arm EFF MPs demanding to know when he would pay back the money spent on non-security upgrades at his Nkandla residence.
“When I use the term ‘honourable’ I do it out of respect for the traditions and conventions of this august house. But please do not take it literally. For you, honourable President, are not an honourable man. You are a broken man presiding over a broken society,” he said.
Earlier the sitting began with ructions when opposition parties demanded to know why the minutes of the Hansard – the service that records minutes of house sittings – had been sanitised to exclude some of the drama that unfolded last week.
The EFF also wanted to know why Speaker Baleka Mbete was not in the National Assembly to explain her remarks to the North West ANC conference where she labelled EFF leader Julius Malema a cockroach and EFF MPs thugs and hooligans.
But national council of provinces chairperson Thandi Modise said she could not answer on behalf of Mbete.
“I cannot make a ruling and I cannot apologise on behalf of the Speaker,” said Modise.
But it was Maimane who stole the show with a fiery speech that asked serious questions of Zuma. He said the President had damaged state institutions in his bid to escape accountability.
“You are willing to break this Parliament if it means escaping accountability for the wrongs you have done,” he said.
Maimane spoke out against the deployment of police officers in plain white shirts to force MPs out of the National Assembly chamber and the jamming of the cellphone signal.
“The brute force of the state won and the hearts of our nation broke.”
He said while the police were physically pushing MPs out of the house and the signal was being jammed, Zuma could only laugh.
“And what did you do? You laughed while the people of South Africa cried for their beloved country. You laughed while trampling Madiba’s legacy – in the very week that we celebrated 25 years since his release.
“Honourable President, we will never forgive you for what you have done.”
Maimane said Zuma had left in his wake a broken SA Revenue Service, a broken National Prosecutions Authority, a broken Special Investigating Unit and a broken SA Police Service. He said there were 1.6 million more South Africans without jobs than when Zuma took office in 2009.
EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC government had deviated from all the ideals of the Freedom Charter such as the nationalisation of mines, banks and the expropriation of land to redistribute it to the landless.
“The ANC has dismally failed to redistribute land and will continue to buy land from those who stole it,” said Malema.