Parliamentary sitting on Tuesday ended in pandemonium after an Economic Freedom Fighter Members of parliament put up a dramatic scene.
While parliament proceeding was in progress, an EFF MP dramatically referred to Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane as a “Zupta minister”. He was immediately forced to withdraw his statement as there was no one in the parliament that goes by the name ‘Zupta’.
‘Zupta’ is EFF’s newly coined word for the relationship that exists between President Jacob Zuma & the heavily connected Gupta family. The party has obviously introduced the word to the South African lexicon, but National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete seems not to be ready to embrace the term in parliament.
The EFF went hard on the president, alleging that he was corrupt and referred him as ‘Zupta’ throughout the sitting. Not only that, they did not spare the ruling party, who they also called ‘useless’.
However, Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete couldn’t bear it any more the moment the EFF MP Mmabatho Mokause labelled Mineral Resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane as “Zupta Zwane”. He was cautioned but the defiant EFF member adamantly referred President Jacob Zuma as ‘Zupta’ again, resulting to parliamentary uproar from African National Congress (ANC) members.
While the tumultuous scene lasted, the EFF told the National Assembly to embrace the term ‘Zupta’ as it would be a household name during parliamentary sittings. EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu was thrown out of the house after he bluntly called the parliamentary speaker by her first name instead of calling her ‘Madam Speaker’.
He [Shivambu] had earlier stood against Baleka Mbete’s objection to the word ‘Zupta’.
“You’re not applying the rules properly,” Shivambu said.
Reacting to Shivambu’s action, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor asserted that it is unparliamentary to refer to presiding officers by their first name. Hence, members who refer to the presiding officers by their first names should be properly disciplined.
Raising an objection, ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said referring the president as Zupta is totally unacceptable.
Mbete, who could no longer hide how uncomfortable she was with the EFF said they had condoled the EFF and their behaviour for so long.
“We are not going to have unlimited patience with a clear abuse of the rules and the house itself,” she said.
During 2016 State of the Nation Address, an Economic Freedom Fighter MP Godrich Gardee asked the president to sit down barely few minutes after Zuma stepped on the podium.
“Sit down, Mr Zupta,” said Gardee.
We will also recall that EFF Malema used the word ‘Zupta’ to describe president Zuma when he [Malema] delivered his speech in the State of the Nation Address debate.
“My Zupta, your leadership can be summed up into three things – the Guptas, Nkandla and Umshini Wami,” Malema said before walking out of the National Assembly.
It is believed that the confrontational leader was referring to Zuma’s friendship with the influential and politically well-connected Gupta family, his controversial Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Zuma’s signature song Awuleth’ Umshini Wami (meaning-Bring me my machine gun)