SONA 2017: How the chaos unfolded

Massive brawl breaks out in national assembly involving EFF MPs and white shirts

Shouting in Parliament ahead of Zuma's SONA

Cape Town - EFF members started shouting in Parliament ahead of President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address turning proceedings into a screaming match.

The EFF'S Godrick Gardee said both the president and presiding officer were in breach of oath of office to uphold the Constitution.

Speaker Beleka Mbete asked him what the point of order was.

He said the issue was that Zuma was in breach of the constitution.

Gardee then started shouting saying Zuma should be held accountable.

EFF leader Julius Malema interrupted and said Mbete broke her own rules as she did not reply to the point of order.

"We are equal here. We are all equal here," Malema shouted, as Mbeke yelled back: "Point of order. Point of order."

Malema then referred to the 441 SANDF members Zuma had authorised for proceedings.

"441 soldiers will not protect you! Your problem is not outside, it's inside! Here," Malema shouted.


'Please leave, baba' - Ndlozi to Zuma

Cape Town - National EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told President Jacob Zuma to leave Parliament on Thursday ahead of his State of the Nation Address.

"Please leave, baba," he said.

"Mr Zuma, please leave. You are a constitutional delinquent, he must leave. He is a delinquent."

Shouting by opposition politicians earlier drowned out Zuma as he tried to start his SONA.

Zuma was meant to start the SONA at 19:00.

By 19:45pm he still had not.

At one stage Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota said: "We as the Congress of the People want to place on record... The gentleman before you has broken his oath of office. He's admitted that.

"He can't be a member of Parliament when he's discharged himself. In English he's called a scoundrel."

Speaker Baleka Mbete, who had her hands full trying to deal with rival politicians, said what Lekota was saying was not a point of order.

Lekota then raised his voice and Mbete again interrupted.

She repeatedly told various politicians what they were saying was not a point of order.


Punch up, smoke in Parliament, violence outside

Cape Town - A massive brawl, involving Economic Freedom Fighters members and security dressed in white shirts, broke out in Parliament ahead of President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Tear gas, or pepper spray, was also apparently used in the public gallery in the National Assembly as EFF MPs were forced out, though it was unclear to determine the exact nature of the smoke.

Speaker Baleka Mbete earlier constantly warned EFF members, including leader Julius Malema, to leave as she said they were disrupting proceedings.

She then called for them to removed.

Several officers in white shirts then arrived and a fight erupted with EFF members punching and kicking them. They retaliated.

Outside of Parliament scores of riot police were stationed.

Shouting continued inside the National Assembly after the EFF members were removed.

Zuma was meant to have started his SONA at 19:00.

By 20:16 he had still not started.

Earlier the EFF's Floyd Shivambu, as well as Malema, claimed that police with injections and cable ties were poised to force them out and use the items on them.


Zuma has broken SA - DA's Steenhuisen

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address was delayed by more than an hour following massive disruptions by the EFF who had been thrown out and other opposition party MPs leaving the house.

Riot police now moving to EDF members and hear what sounds like a stun grenade go off @News24— mahlatse gallens (@hlatseentle) February 9, 2017

While DA MP John Steenhuisen during the fracas said Zuma had broken South Africa. Calls from the gallery told him to "fuck off".

Steenhuisen said "that man has broken the country", and now MPs shouting "racist" at him #SONA2017— Thulani Gqirana (@ThulaniGqirana) February 9, 2017

Recap: A powdery substance was dispersed in the public gallery while the EFF were thrown out of #SONA2017. Guests coughing badly. @News24— Paul Herman (@PaulTHerman) February 9, 2017

Mbete says they will investigate what happened in the gallery, where there was some form of gas #SONA2017— Thulani Gqirana (@ThulaniGqirana) February 9, 2017

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Zuma will remain a dishonest president

ANC MPs clapping as EFF MPs punched, kicked, slapped and thrown out #SONA2017— Thulani Gqirana (@ThulaniGqirana) February 9, 2017


'Powdery substance' let off in Parliament's public gallery

Cape Town - A powdery substance, with effects similar to teargas or pepper spray, was let off in Parliament's public gallery while the Economic Freedom Fighters were being thrown out of President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address.

Dignitaries, citizens and politicians were seen coughing and tearing as they exited one section of the public gallery bay of the National Assembly on Thursday.

Cape Town Mayor Patrica de Lille was one of those affected, as well as African Christian Democratic Party chairperson Kenneth Meshoe.

Both indicated to News24 that they were okay, but could not speak.

Former President Thabo Mbeki was sitting approximately 15m from where the powder was dispersed, but his bay was unaffected.

Eyewitnesses described it as "very strong", causing severe coughing, tearing and a burning sensation in the throat and chest.

The powder appeared to have been kept in a white piece of paper.

Its effects were minimised after Parliament security doused it with water.

Police were monitoring the situation, but there were no leads on a suspect, they said.

It appears as if an ordinary member of the public was the culprit.


Police vs protesters in Cape Town as Zuma delivers SONA

Cape Town - Police are on high alert and out in force on the streets of Cape Town after protesters clashed with officers while President Jacob Zuma delivered his State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening.

Earlier, two stun grenades were set off in Darling Street and Adderley Street as ANC supporters tried to make their way to Parliament.

This as the EFF was being forcibly removed from Parliament.

EFF members got into fist fights with security officers, who retaliated.

As Zuma finally delivered his speech, which was earlier twice interrupted as rival politicians made points of order, riot police gathered to create a wall between Parliament and protesters.

Protesters tried to get through the police cordon, but were finally pushed to the Grand Parade, where the ANC was hosting an event.Police remain on high alert.


DA threatens court action to have Mbete removed

Cape Town - The DA has threatened to go to court on Friday after a powdery substance with effects similar to that of tear gas was used inside the National Assembly.

The party said it will ask the court to review the actions of the government and speaker Baleka Mbete, after police officers and the army were deployed inside the parliamentary precinct.

Thandi Modise apologised for breached security after the DA alleged tear gas but says it was pepper spray. It should not have happened she said.

"The ANC is plunging us into a constitutional crisis," DA leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters after walking out of the assembly.

Maimane said they also want speaker Mbete to go, for protecting Zuma.

"We must go to court to remove Baleka Mbete because she has no clue on the Constitution. The police can't be here, I was happy for Zuma to speak and as the speaker she said the army must come in; the police must come in, she has no clue," Maimane said.

There was more chaos outside parliament after EFF members were kicked out and the Democratic Alliance walked out of the National Assembly during President Jacob Zuma's tenth national address.

The EFF MP's emerged from the assembly kicking and screaming after facing off with parliamentary security services.

EFF leader Julius Malema also accused the ANC of plunging the country into constitutional crisis.

''[The] ANC suspended the Constitution, [Its's the] first time we see police and soldiers intimidating members of Parliament," Malema told reporters after they were kicked out.

Parliament saw the highest deployment of security officials including police in and around of Parliament. Zuma announced on Tuesday that 441 soldiers will be deployed to assist the police in law and order.

Despite assurances by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula that the army would only be deployed in Parliament if there was a "calamity", members dressed in army uniform clearly marked military police armed with rifles were seen within the precinct.

Earlier there was also confrontation between members of the media and riot police. Scores of riot police who had been blocking the road leading to Plein Street from Parliament moved into the precinct.

They blocked the road, preventing journalists from accessing the area where outside broadcast vans and make shift studios were erected. At one point journalists shouted "Let us through."