Both the inside and outside of the Constitutional Court was a hive of activity on Tuesday 9 February as members of opposition parties – the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Congress of the People (COPE) chanted anti-Jacob Zuma songs outside the Court building.
The courtroom at the Constitutional Court was filled to the brim 30 minutes before court session started and arguments were heard. To avoid overcrowding, most members of the media and the public were not allowed inside the court and had to sit in the reception area and watch the court proceedings from a television.
In order to maintain order also, all entrances to the court were sealed off and only members of the media were allowed access into the court premises. This did not stop the various opposition parties from shouting out their chants to the hearing of everyone outside the court premises.
These chants were going on while the Constitutional Court was hearing arguments from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the DA in connection with the report from Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s on upgrades to President Zuma’s private home in Nkandla.
Dressed in their respective uniforms, members of Cope and the DA were spotted singing and dancing outside without minding the large police gathering. One message was clear in their chants “Pay back the money!” and it was directed to President Jacob Zuma.
The bone of contention at the hearing was that the EFF and the DA wanted the Constitutional Court to order President Zuma to implement the Public Protector’s directives to pay back a portion of the costs for non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home. They say the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President neglected these directives and this was also a neglect of their constitutional obligations.
While speaking to party members outside the court, DA councillor Shadrack Mkhonto said: “There are no jobs because of Jacob Zuma. Let’s make a noise for South African people”.
Also, Cope’s national spokesman Dennis Bloem specified that party was at court to “defend the constitution of the country”.
“The Public Protector’s office has been in danger over time. We are here to say that the president has violated the constitution in every turn‚” Bloem said.
Other chants from the opposition parties include:
“Voetsek [go away] man‚ f*** off man‚ bhatala tshelete [pay the money]”
“Dubul’uZuma‚ dubula’ iGuptas [shoot Zuma‚ shoot the Guptas]”.
Cope members chanted: “Zuma ulimene mene [Zuma is a liar]“.