Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says they might take legal action against President Jacob Zuma's decision to deploy the South African National Defence Force (Sandf) in Parliament to maintain law and order during his State of the Nation Address (Sona).
EFF spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, says this is a tactic to intimidate EFF which has been kicked out of Parliament in previous years for disrupting Zuma's address.
We are not moved. We are going to go to that House and expose Zuma for who he is. We’re not going to be deterred. We will interrupt him within the rules of the House. No amount of intimidation is going to stop us from holding him accountable.— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF national spokesperson
Democratic Alliance (DA) has described the decision as 'militarisation and securitisation of what should be an open democratic place’.
DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, says they are seeking an explanation from the Speaker on how soldiers could be allowed in the National Assembly.
Steenhuisen says Sandf is not trained in public order policing and dealing with crowds. Their function is a complete different one to the SAPS.
While there may not be a major constitutional problem here, there is a major perception problem and wrong deployment.— John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip
He cannot win the debate with force of argument so now he has to bring military force to show opposition who is boss, and that’s an incorrect deployment of the military to maintain law and order in a democratic space like Parliament.— John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip
Listen to full interview with Steenhuisen and Ndlozi below...
Secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana, says the Sandf won't play any new role other than what they have always been doing in the past.
On our side we are not envisioning any other role for South African National Defence Force other than the roles they have played over the years.— Gengezi Mgidlana, secretary to Parliament
We are not at war with anyone at all. If anything at all, we are looking forward to having a State of the Nation Address where South Africans participate.— Gengezi Mgidlana, secretary to Parliament
Listen to his full interview below...