Fri. Oct 18th, 2019

SONA 2019: The chances of an EFF disruption assessed

SONA disruption threatParliament believes there will be no disruptions to the second SONA of 2019, even though the EFF have several grievances with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Parliament’s presiding officers claim they are fully prepared for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and do not expect anything to disrupt proceedings, but history shows there’ll probably be at least one attempt to steal the headlines.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have built a reputation for being disruptive in parliament and have a long and storied history of causing a ruckus in government during SONA.

SONA disruption history

2015

It all started back in 2015 when a member of the EFF raised a point of order during Jacob Zuma’s speech and asked when the then president of the country intended to pay back the money spent on upgrades to his Inkandla home.

After refusing to back down, EFF members in parliament were thrown out and needed to be removed physically by security personnel.

2016

In 2016, there was no physical removal, but the EFF still did their best to disrupt proceedings by arguing against the legality of the security guards involvement at the 2015 event and effectively delayed the president’s speech by some time.

2017

Julius Malema took center stage himself in 2017 after he revealed an industrial cable tie he had gotten off a security guard, which presumably would’ve been used as a restraint if needs be.

After about 40 minutes of back-and-forth ‘debate,’ the EFF was again thrown out of parliament, leading to a physical confrontation.

2018

In 2018, there was a refreshing change of pace as there were no disruptions and Malema even welcomed the messages portrayed during the speech.

2019

However, it was business as usual again at the start of 2019 as the EFF protested President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son and his involvement with Bosasa. Again, this confrontation ended in a bit of fisticuffs

This time though, they explained that they were all on edge after an apparent threat had been made on Malema’s life.

Parliament is confident

With the second state of the nation address of the year set to commence, parliament has repeatedly stated that they are ready and do not expect any disruptions.

With the second state of the nation address of the year set to commence, parliament has repeatedly stated that they are ready and do not expect any disruptions.

However, the matter of Ramaphosa’s son and Bosasa is still unresolved and they have been angered further by reports of attempts to remove Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from office.

The EFF was initially not supportive of her appointment as Thuli Madonsela’s replacement and even claimed she would collapse the office of the public protector. But have since changed their tune.

In May, they threw their weight behind Mkhwebane after she released a report on a decision Pravin Gordhan made while he was finance minister.

Her report found Gorhan guilty of maladministration in the Pillay pension payout and split opinions across the country. While some disagreed with her findings and called for her removal from office, the EFF was now a firm ally.

So an attempted disruption is definitely not completely out of the question.

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