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  Brawl erupts in South Africa House as Opposition ejected

Brawl erupts in South Africa House as Opposition ejected

AFP
Published : May 18, 2016, 1:49 am IST
Updated : May 18, 2016, 1:49 am IST

Members of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party are physically removed from the Parliament after repeatedly ignoring the instructions of the Speaker in Cape Town on Tuesday. (Photo: AFP)

Members of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party are physically removed from the Parliament after repeatedly ignoring the instructions of the Speaker in Cape Town on Tuesday. (Photo: AFP)

A brutal fistfight broke out in the South African Parliament on Tuesday as security guards ejected Opposition legislators in an ugly fracas that underlined heightened political tensions over Jacob Zuma’s presidency.

 

About 20 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party members, who were wrestled from their seats by plain-clothed guards, had refused to let Mr Zuma speak and furiously shouted down the Speaker, Baleka Mbete.

As Mr Zuma looked on impassively, the EFF legislators — dressed in their uniform of red workers’ overalls — fought back to try to remain in the chamber before they were physically removed through a side door.

The disruption was the latest in a series of showdowns in Parliament as pressure mounts on Mr Zuma to resign or be axed as President by the ruling African National Congress (ANC). He has been urged to step down by a number of senior ANC veterans of the struggle against apartheid, which brought liberation icon Nelson Mandela to power in 1994.

 

But he retains widespread loyalty in the party, and ANC legislators have regularly rallied to Mr Zuma’s defence.

In April, they easily defeated an Opposition move to impeach him.

The EFF, which was also ejected from Parliament two weeks ago in similar scenes, has vowed that it will not let Mr Zuma speak in the chamber, saying that it does not recognise him as President.

Location: South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town