Keynote Zuma speech disrupted as lawmakers brawl, walk out

A session of South Africa’s parliament, convened for a keynote address by the president, descended into chaos on Thursday as far-left lawmakers brawled with orderlies after interrupting the speech and the main opposition party walked out. Nathan Frandino reports.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (ENCA / REUTERS) – Chaos broke out on Thursday in the South African Parliament, where President Jacob Zuma was supposed to give his state-of-the-nation speech.

“Mr. Zuma!”

Instead, deputies of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party peppered the scandal-laden president with criticisms and questions for more than an hour… the parliamentary speaker struggling to bring order.

“Honorable… please take your seat.”

As the tensions worsened, more party members raised their voices, calling on Zuma to leave.

“You are a Constitutional delinquent, you have to leave.”

That’s when the speaker had had enough and ordered security guards to escort the deputies out, prompting fists to fly.

The brawl was the most violent faced during a Zuma speech.

It comes just two months after an anti-corruption watchdog called for an inquiry into alleged influence-peddling in Zuma’s government. He has denied allegations.