‘A rough ride’ expected for South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma

President to appear in parliament for the first time since his refusal to address calls to repay taxpayers’ money caused uproar in the house

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma: opposition MPs maintain fireworks are likely in Parliament. Photograph: Reuters

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma: opposition MPs maintain fireworks are likely in Parliament. Photograph: Reuters

 

Tensions are expected to run high on Wednesday when South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma appears before parliament for the first time since his refusal to address calls to repay taxpayers’ money caused pandemonium in the house.

During his state of the nation address in February, members of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party were forcibly removed by police from the national assembly when they reiterated calls for the president to pay back the money spent on nonsecurity upgrades to his Nklandla home.

The EFF was expelled for chanting its demands at Mr Zuma, and when members refused to leave, police stormed the assembly.

The question of when Mr Zuma will repay the money, amounting to millions of euro, first arose last August on foot of an independent investigation by the public protector’s office. Officially, Mr Zuma has a list of six questions to answer today, but none relate to the Nklandla scandal. However, opposition MPs maintain fireworks are likely all the same.

Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen said, “People don’t feel that the president has met his obligations in terms of answering questions and being held accountable in the house. So he might be in for a rough ride on Wednesday,” he said.

Mr Zuma has disputed that the questions are outstanding.