Durban — Attention-seeking opposition parties should not attend the State of the Nation Address in future, President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, said on Thursday evening.
Defending his father, who was repeatedly interrupted during his address on Thursday evening, Zuma’s eldest son said it was a sad day for South Africa’s democracy.
“The behaviour displayed by some members of the opposition parties was embarrassing. They are the same people that claimed that they respected South Africa as a constitutional democracy.
“But today [Thursday], they are the first to break the rules of the Constitution. They are basing their arguments on a particular individual, and clearly, it is about them wanting to fulfil their egos and goals to the media.”
Zuma’s address was delayed by at least an hour and fifteen minutes, as members of the EFF continued to disrupt him, accusing him of violating the Constitution.
Members of the party were eventually forced out of Parliament.
The DA staged a walkout minutes later.
Edward Zuma said he did not understand how people voted for “politicians who displayed violence in Parliament”.
“It is unbecoming of them. If Mr Zuma is said to have violated the Constitution . . . why don’t they go to the Constitutional Court and follow proper processes so that we can see that they respect the Constitution.”
He said members of the opposition only claimed to be the defenders of the Constitution, but had no respect for it.
“Why don’t they respect the Constitution which dictates that the president has the right to convene a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces?”
He said, instead of disrupting the event, the disgruntled members should have “just walked out peacefully, without disrupting him”.
“Their behaviour was not surprising at all. There is a certain party in Parliament that is built on hooliganism. The party is built on hatred, emotions and individual hatred for Zuma.”
He said opposition parties had no interest in the real issues facing the country.
“They are showing South Africans their true colours. What are they trying to prove, because at the end of the day the State of the Nation was heard, all they wanted at the end of the day was attention?”
He accused opposition parties of being funded by detractors to insult the ruling party and the president.
“They should be embarrassed of their conduct.”
He said he had been quiet on issues for far too long.
“There is a certain leader of a newly formed opposition party, he and his supporters are seriously out of order and we need to take them to task. If they are really interested in the issues affecting this country, what kind of behaviour are they displaying to the nation?”
He said that some opposition parties thrived because they were able to insult the president and the ruling party.
“We will defend the ANC leadership with our lives, if we have to, just like one leader of the opposition party who was once prepared to die for Zuma.”
He said he did not take some members of the opposition seriously and that they should have been mature enough to sit and listen to the address and respond later.
“Stopping the man clearly indicates that you are afraid of something. You are afraid that he will steer the country into the correct direction.”
He said he could no longer take the constant attacks on his father.
“I am challenging the opposition to face me on a public platform so that we can tell each other exactly what we think of each other.”
Meanwhile, Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday that government is “deeply distressed” by the death of 94 psychiatric patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni to various NGOs last year.
“Mentally ill patients are some of the most vulnerable members of society, who need protection from the state itself and society as a whole,” Zuma said at the State of the Nation Address.
“I have instructed the Minister of Health to ensure that the Health Ombudsperson’s recommendations are wholly and speedily implemented without any reservations.”