2021 sona debate

2021 SONA Debate: EFF hacks hybrid sitting

Andile Sicetsha - 16.02.2021

The EFF heckled Parliamment into giving Julius Malema more time to dish out the dirt on Ramaphosa.

For the EFF, the hybrid joint sitting of the 2021 SONA Debate was the perfect setting for the renegade members of parliament.

2021 SONA Debate: Leading opposition highlights

Due to the state of Covid-19 in South Africa, the National Assembly was forced to limit the capacity of members inside the chambers, where opposition leaders were to submit responses to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s SONA speech.

Those who were not present, including every seat occupied by members of the EFF, had tuned into the debate virtually, the perfect setting for the renowned disruptors.

Things were going on schedule at the start of the debate. DA leader John Steenhuisen used his minutes to propose a compromise with the president, calling for a united approach to policy reform.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize followed thereafter with updates on the country’s renewed vaccine programme, asserting the government’s objective of achieving herd community on schedule, despite the AstraZeneca blunder.

Malema lays into Stellenbosch ‘puppet’ Ramaphosa

However, as soon as EFF leader Julius Malema took over the virtual feed to contribute his two cents, all hell broke loose. The head of the Red Berets laid into Ramaphosa, lambasting him as a puppet of the Oppenheimers and Ruperts.

“We want to state categorically that any leader of our country who owes loyalty to settlers and white State capturers, is defining himself as an enemy of the people. We will isolate and ultimately defeat all puppets of the white capitalist establishment,” he charged.

Malema continued with his tirade, quite interestingly echoing the words of former president Jacob Zuma in targeting ‘a select’ number of judges who — in his view — are playing politics.

The EFF leader was well on course to dishing out the dirt on Ramaphosa when his speech was disrupted. Amid the confusion of time allocated to Malema, proceedings in the National Assembly descended into absolute chaos.

2021 SONA Debate: EFF hacks virtual platform

Under normal circumstances, the red overall-clad EFF troops’ disruptions would have been easily managed by the House’s security detail.

However, this time, the Red Berets were tuned into a virtual platform that, for the most part, was not monitored. Acting Presidency Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s time on the podium was halted by EFF hecklers who hacked the platform, causing further delays to proceedings.

At the time this article was published, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was giving his speech on the virtual platform.