Last night, 9th of February, the annual State of the Nation Address by South African President, Jacob Zuma, took place in Cape Town. The event was shrouded in controversy as Zuma had deployed 441 South African National Defence Force members and 5000 police officers around the parliamentary precinct in the run-up to the event. Opposition parties The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) contested these measures, which only added to the drama on the day.
The whole of South Africa waited in anticipation for events to unfold in Parliament and what transpired was reminiscent of a bar-fight scene in a B-movie. Chaos broke out when the EFF interrupted Zuma’s speech, constantly shouting out points of order. As the EFF refused to back down they were forced out of the building by security guards (Bouncers) and the ensuing fist fight was shocking to say the least.
As the commotion played out of television screens across South Africa, it was mirrored by reaction online:
— Miss Lelo (@MsLeloB) February 9, 2017
— Chelsea Lotz (@Chelsea_Lotz) February 9, 2017
— brad (@glofulbutera) February 10, 2017
A party that applauds the violent removal of the opposition from parliament deserves neither our vote nor our respect. #SONA2017
— Freigeist (@Raees_Noorbhai) February 9, 2017
Pepper spray, violence, swearing, name calling, screaming, cable ties, injections and our President begins by saying "Finally…" #SONA2017
— Leanne Manas (@LeanneManas) February 9, 2017
Guys, we just witnessed grown women get manhandled, if not beaten, in parliament on Live TV! And everyone in there clapped?!!!!! #SONA2017
— Boity Thulo (@Boity) February 9, 2017
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) February 9, 2017
— Marinkie (@marinkie_tinkie) February 9, 2017
SONA 2017 will be remembered by all who witnessed it- for all the wrong reasons. Where does South African parliament go from here?
By Dean Workman