The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it condemns the “unleashing of the army on the people of South Africa” in apparent reference to the deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops to maintain law and order during the State Of the Nation Address (SONA).
In a late night statement on Tuesday:
The EFF blasted President Jacob Zuma for the militarization of the State of the Nations Address and also accused him of “unleashing of the army on the people!”
- The EFF has taken note of the fact that Zuma has authorized the employment of 441 members of SANDF for the State of the Nation Address. Zuma has deployed these military personnel for what he calls the maintenance of law and order at the SONA.
- We condemn this initiative as the unleashing of the army on the people of South Africa. It must be seen as the declaration of War on citizens, which means Zuma is planning to murder those he disagrees with at the SONA.
- The military has no place in the maintenance of law and order as the South African Police Services are given such a mandate. The military are people who get deployed for war and whose training is about killing the enemies of the state.
- We know for sure that this initiative by Zuma is done to intimidate the media and the EFF. Zuma no longer has confidence on the rank and file, including captains with the SAPS to execute his illegal decisions and instructions. He now hopes to use SANDF to suppress opposition to his illegitimacy as a constitutional delinquent.
- We call on members of the media to defy any and all unjust regulations designed to undermine their freedoms of movement and of the media. They too have a duty to undertake their journalism with full constitutional activism as citizens and human beings with human rights.
- We also all have a duty to defend parliament as a house of the people. It does not belong to Zuma and it will never be; it must always be a people’s parliament.
- We further call on SANDF members to defy unjust orders from a criminal president. They must refuse to be turned against the people; they must instead turn their guns against Zuma! We call on them to respect parliament and the parliament of the people and not of Zuma.
- Zuma has no constitutional mandate to impose law and order on parliament; this is a direct violation of the separation of powers. Parliament precinct must be respected as sacrosanct, with only the speaker, in consultation with members of parliament, who can authorize security measures, not Zuma. This is so, regardless of the fact that SONA is convinced by a head of state; it is still convened under the rules of parliament, approved and overseen by parliament.
- As the EFF, we shall never be deterred. No amount of security and intimidation will deter us from holing Zuma accountable in terms of the constitution. We will defend the constitution to the end and with whatever revolutionary means possible.