After numerous points of order and disruptions by EFF MPs, President Cyril Ramaphosa eventually took to the podium to deliver his budget vote speech, saying South Africans don’t care about the theatrics aimed at disruption.
“What our people of SA want above all is to see their quality of life improving. They do not care about the political squabbles, the competitions between political parties, the intrigues, the plots and the rivalries.
“They are least concerned about that. They want better basic services, jobs and opportunities to better themselves and to better the lives of their families. They want to live, study and work in environments free of crime and violence,” he said.
The debate was held virtually and in the National Assembly, sitting in the Good Hope Chamber at parliament.
Several EFF MPs disrupted proceedings, shouting that they would not be addressed by “a money launderer and kidnapper”.
Former State Security Agency head Arthur Fraser last week laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa, alleging that foreign currency worth millions had been stolen from the president’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo by criminals allegedly working in collusion with his domestic worker.
Fraser accused Ramaphosa of concealing the crime and claimed to be in possession of evidence showing the incident happened in February 2020.
Ramaphosa, however, has denied involvement in criminal activity.
After refusing to hear Ramaphosa, EFF MPs and their leader Julius Malema eventually staged a walk-out.
During the incident, Ramaphosa sat silently.
When he eventually took to the podium, he said: “The greatest disservice we can do to our people in the life of our nation is to become distracted from the task at hand.
“The challenges we face as a country are many. We are still in the grip of a devastating pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 reported deaths in our country. Poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment continues to cast a heavy cloud and these are preventing millions of our people from living lives of dignity.
“In recent times, we are having to deal with another problem which is the rising cost of living. The cost of fuel has gone up, food, utilities like water and electricity has made it increasingly difficult for the majority of our people to get by, to pay their bills and to also feed their children and families.
“We continue to count the cost of last year’s July unrest in parts of the country and the human and economic impact of the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and the North West.
“They are the bread and butter issues that have always mattered the most to our people.”