President Jacob Zuma’s authorization of SONA soldiers has been wildly rebuked. And, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) thinks the President is planning to Murder those who wouldn’t agree with his decisions.
Mr President authorized the deployment of 441 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to Parliament.
The soldiers are to assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in maintaining law and order during the opening of Parliament, where Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Four hundred and forty-one members of the SANDF will be employed together with SAPS, for the period of 5 February to 10 February 2017,” a statement from the Presidency confirmed.
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In response to the development, the Fighters agitated that the unleashing of the army on the people of South Africa is a declaration of War on citizens.
“…Zuma is planning to murder those he disagrees with at the SONA.
The military has no place in the maintenance of law and order as the South African Police Services are given such a mandate. The military are people who get deployed for war and whose training is about killing the enemies of the state.
We know that this initiative by Zuma is done to intimidate the media and the EFF. Zuma no longer has confidence on the rank and file, including captains with the SAPS to execute his illegal decisions and instructions.
He now hopes to use SANDF to suppress opposition to his illegitimacy as a constitutional delinquent.”
With the above, the party called on media practitioners to defy all unjust regulations designed to undermine their freedoms of movement and of the media.
To the Fighters, it’s the duty of media practitioners to undertake their journalism with full constitutional activism as citizens and human beings with human rights.
“We also all have a duty to defend parliament as a house of the people. It does not belong to Zuma and it will never be; it must always be a people’s parliament,” charged the Fighters.
Afterwards, the party asked SANDF members to “defy unjust orders from a criminal president.”
“They must refuse to be turned against the people; they must instead turn their guns against Zuma! We call on them to respect parliament and the parliament of the people and not of Zuma,” urged the party.
They argued that:
“Zuma has no constitutional mandate to impose law and order on parliament; this is a direct violation of the separation of powers.
Parliament precinct must be respected as sacrosanct, with only the speaker, in consultation with members of parliament, who can authorize security measures, not Zuma.
This is so, regardless of the fact that SONA is convinced by a head of state; it is still convened under the rules of parliament, approved and overseen by parliament. “
Above all, the party proclaimed that they will never be deterred. And, that no amount of security and intimidation will deter them from holding Zuma accountable in terms of the constitution.
“We will defend the constitution to the end and with whatever revolutionary means possible,” EFF proclaimed.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) party also condemned the SONA soldiers arrangement. According to the party, it’s an excessive use of the army outside of their ceremonial role.
Already, Chief Whip of the DA, John Steenhuisen MP has asked for an urgent meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, over the SONA soldiers issue.
Steenhuisen expressed that Zuma’s unleashing of the soldiers for SONA should be seen in the context of his recent desperate attempts to ensure that he is protected from the criticism his Presidency deserves.
The Chief Whip said:
“The DA will not stand by and allow for the ‘people’s parliament’ to be turned into a security-state show of force, meant to intimidate opposition both inside and outside of the ANC.
Our message to President Zuma…is clear: no number of SANDF soldiers will deter us from holding you accountable in Parliament this week, or any other day of the year. We will not be intimidated.”
COPE Won’t Be Intimidated By SONA Soldiers
Similarly, the Congress of the People (COPE) asserted that the SONA soldiers development is absolutely shocking and frightening.
To COPE, the security measures Zuma initiated are to be installed when there’s a state of emergency or war.
Adding that SA isn’t at war, COPE argued that it’s “completely horrible to have Heavily-Armed Soldiers, Personal Guards, Police and Intelligence Operatives defending and protecting a discredited and disgraceful President who has broken his Oath of Office.”
The party said President Zuma shouldn’t expect peace and respect in Parliament when he doesn’t respect the Constitution of the country and is unwilling to accept that he is not above the law.
“COPE wants to assure Mr Zuma that no amount of security forces will ever force us to sit under one roof and listen to an individual who has brought the dignity of a once respected Parliament Chamber down to nothing else but a house of shame.”
Ultimately, COPE warned that they will hold Zuma accountable for any loss of lives. Soldiers are trained to kill and not to keep law and order, the party affirmed.