14 Nov 2014

Riot police remove MPs from South Africa’s parliament

Riot police enter the South African parliament to remove opposition MPs after they call President Jacob Zuma a thief and a criminal.

The chaotic scenes on Thursday night followed a vote to absolve President Zuma of any wrongdoing over his use of £14m of state money to upgrade his private home.

Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela, of the Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), repeatedly called the president a “thief” and a “criminal”.

The MP refused to withdraw the comments or leave the chamber and riot police were brought in, at which point the parliamentary live video feed was cut. Punches were reportedly thrown and four MPs injured in the scuffles.

The EFF has been involved in heated debates in parliament on numerous occasions. In September, party leader Julius Malema was thrown out after accusing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of being a killer.

His chief whip Floyd Shivambu was also removed for putting his middle finger up in Ramaphosa’s direction.

The EFF blames the deputy president for the deaths of 34 striking mineworkers at Marikana in 2012. Mr Ramaphosa has always denied any wrongdoing.