SABC News - South Africans await Zuma’s SONA debate reply:Wednesday 17 February 2016

South Africans await Zuma’s SONA debate reply

Wednesday 17 February 2016 21:40

Zalene Merrington

President Jacob Zuma listened to debates taking place in the National Assembly and will respond on Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma listened to debates taking place in the National Assembly and will respond on Thursday.(SABC)

President Jacob Zuma will on Thursday reply to the debate on his State of the Nation speech delivered a week ago. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) boycotted the second day of the debate, while Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen was chased out during a heated debate.

It is expected that President Jacob Zuma will respond to criticism around the ailing economy, corruption, his about turn on the powers of the Public Protector and his friendship with the Gupta family.

During his response last year, Zuma ripped into the opposition and ridiculed them for their pronunciation of Nkandla.

This week, the DA leader Mmusi Maimane accused him of being out of touch with South Africans. The EFF walked out of the chamber on Tuesday after their leader, Julius Malema, ended his speech by saying they didn’t acknowledge Zuma as President.

The National Assembly was slightly more rowdy during the second day of the debate.

Political parties taking part in the State of the Nation Address debate again hammered on weaknesses in President Jacob Zuma's armour such as Nkandla and the recent upheaval in the Finance Ministry.

But this time, ANC ministers took out the big guns to defend the ruling party.

Please watch video below:

Zuma will reply to the criticism on Thursday.

Opposition parties made a point of reminding the President of his recent mistakes.

The DA Spokesperson on Finance David Maynier says unless something meaningful is done, the country is facing another down grading.

But Energy and Economic Development Ministers, Tina Joemat-Petterson and Ebrahim Patel, came out guns blazing.

Joemat-Petterson said, “We will offer electricity capacity of 6 gigawatt of renewable energy, solar and wind to our grid; contribute 12% of installed base load capacity for SA. All of this in 8years. Why? Renewable energy programme on time in budget and attractive.”

But soon proceedings ran off the rails.

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota called out factionalism in the ANC - a word that was quickly declared as unParliamentary by the House Chairperson, Papi Tau.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen jumped in, saying, “That is rubbish. You’re talking rubbish.”

Asked to withdraw or leave, Steenhuisen gladly left. And then the whole DA caucus was ordered to leave. However, they remained in the House, except for Steenhuisen.

As calm was restored, Lekota could finish his speech, during which he called on Parliament's presiding officers to take their duties seriously.

Please watch video below:

The leaders of the ACDP, Kenneth Meshoe, and FF-plus Pieter Mulder, called on the ruling party to lead by example in combating racism.

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