Cape Town – The debate on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma got off to a heated start with exchanges on both sides of the Chamber over references to Zuma being called a thief by the opposition.
Speaker Baleka Mbete interjected several times on Thursday calling opposition MPs to order for calling Zuma a thief.
It was DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane who fired the first salvo by calling Zuma a thief for the upgrades at his house to the tune of R246 million.
After several minutes of stalling on the inference Maimane was forced to withdraw his statement.
But EFF MP Primrose Sonti was back on it, accusing Zuma of being a thief.
She refused to apologise when asked by Mbete, and went further accusing Zuma of sending troops to kill mineworkers in Marikana in 2012.
Sonti insisted that she would not abide by any order to withdraw her remarks.
The EFF MP said after all the scandals there was nothing left for Zuma except to resign.
But Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said the accusations against Zuma were baseless.
He said the economy had rebounded from the global economic crisis of 2008.
Radebe said the success of Zuma were recorded in black and white.
He said in the past five years Zuma’s administration had spent over R1 trillion on infrastructure.
The jobs that had been lost have been recovered, he said.
Maimane said Zuma was doing everything at all costs to protect himself against prosecution.
“We can choose to keep a man in office who breaks our Constitution to protect himself and his friends. We can choose to keep a man in office who laughs when Parliament is broken down. Or we can choose to vote with our conscience. We can choose to vote with our hearts,” said Maimane.
But Radebe said the DA must live with the fact that Zuma will continue being at the helm of the country long after the debate.