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President Jacob Zuma during The New Age SABC Business Briefing held on February 10, 2016, in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS/KOPANO TLAPE
President Jacob Zuma during The New Age SABC Business Briefing held on February 10, 2016, in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS/KOPANO TLAPE

President Jacob Zuma has hit back at the EFF, saying the party has “no vision” and does not respect democracy.

The president said if he were “an ordinary citizen” he would call for the permanent removal of the EFF from Parliament. The party constantly undermined the majority, Zuma said.

Speaking at The New Age breakfast on Friday morning, he also raised concern about the “monopoly” SA’s four big banks hold, and said there was a need for more banks so that transformation of the economy could take place.

On Thursday night the president was subjected to a barrage of insults and attacks by opposition parties, particularly the EFF, who delayed his state of the nation speech for more than an hour, labelling him illegitimate and a thief who had broken his oath of office.

After raising numerous points of orders, EFF MPs were eventually forcibly removed from the National Assembly by Parliament protection services, as the house descended into chaos.

Speaking at the breakfast on Friday morning in Cape Town, Zuma said: “Ordinary people should say that the disrupters must be removed from Parliament because they do not respect debate … they do not respect democracy and they want to frustrate debate and the right of the nation to hear the government set out its programme.”

The president said the chaos in Parliament was not a reflection of the “national character”.

“I doubt that it’s a reflection of the national character…. It’s a reflection of a few kind of people … those people only represent 6% of population.

“How did this party come about? We are dealing with people who have quarrels … no vision or views.”

More banks

Zuma also spoke at length about the need for radical economic transformation, saying SA’s failure to redistribute wealth and address the land question was a “ticking time bomb”.

He said there was a need for more banks, because the banking sector was a crucial cog in economic transformation.

“You cannot have just four big banks…. Let us have more banks … let us give opportunities to everyone.

“If the monopoly of four banks remain, the economic control of SA will remain the same….

“You cannot have someone who is super rich and someone is super hungry in one country,” said Zuma.

The president has previously expressed his displeasure with the major banks’ decisions to stop doing business with the Gupta family.

In 2016, they ceased doing business with the Gupta-owned Oakbay, amid allegations that the family was using its relationship with Zuma to secure business and other favours.

“The action looks suspicious…. If a number of banks act in the same way, simultaneously — not one bank, not two banks, including some financial institutions — to any ordinary person, that is not an ordinary act.

“It suggests that there is something, the banks can’t act together on the same manner, in the same way. It gives a feeling that there is something going on here,” Zuma said in Parliament in 2016.

© Business Day