The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is not backing down from its plans to disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa when he begins his State of the Nation Address later on Thursday.
Speaking to the media outside Parliament in Cape Town, EFF MP and Secretary General Marshall Dlamini said they will use the same microphone Ramaphosa is expected to use if they have to.
He said their mission is to tell Ramaphosa to remove Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Public Enterprises.
‘There’s nothing special about Ramaphosa’
Dlamini said, “If they try to switch off the mics, because that’s what these presiding officers do, we’re going to use each and every mic that is working.
“If the only mic that is working in Parliament is the one Cyril is using, we’re going to share that mic because we’re members of Parliament and there’s nothing special about him.”
EFF blames Gordhan for the woes in state-owned enterprises, especially power utility Eskom and South African Airways.
The party has accused him of deliberately running them down to make a case for privatisation and for misleading Ramaphosa that there would be no load shedding over the festive season.
Ramaphosa ‘not losing sleep’
Gordhan has refused to be drawn into a war of words with the EFF, with his office declining to comment on the party’s claims and threats of disruption.
However, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko told reporters on Wednesday that the President “is not losing sleep” over the impending disruption.
She said, “I can assure you the president is not losing any sleep over the threat of a disruption. He fully believes in free political expression.
“It would be a lot more ideal though if such political expression would yield some sort of results. We don’t understand what disrupting SONA is going to achieve.”
Most opposition parties have also frowned on the EFF’s threats. The Democratic Alliance (DA) said no one has a right to take away the right of the majority of MPs to listen to what the President has to say.
Congress of the People (COPE) said disrupting SONA would be a bad idea, while FF+ Chief Whip Corne Mulder added, “Parliament cannot allow itself to be blackmailed by irrational teenagers.”