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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma heckled by EFF at state of the nation address

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Opposition MPs have heckled South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma at his highly-anticipated state of the nation address in parliament.

Left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters MPs said they could not listen to someone who had “broken his oath of office”.

Riot police have set up barricades to keep protesters away from parliament.
The speech is seen as a watershed moment for Mr Zuma, who is facing a court case over the use of $23m (£15m) of state money to upgrade his home.

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The opposition has rejected Mr Zuma’s offer to repay some of the money.
Opposition parties have brought a case over Mr Zuma’s expenditure to the Constitutional Court, hoping it may open the way for impeachment proceedings against him.

In court papers, Mr Zuma said he was prepared to repay money for non-security features, including the building of a swimming pool and an amphitheatre at his home in rural Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.

However, opposition parties have pressed on with the case, asking judges to rule that Mr Zuma had violated the constitution and his oath office by failing to repay the money when an anti-corruption watchdog first ruled in 2014 that he had “unduly benefited” from the renovations to his home.

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The EFF have been staking their claim in parliament, sporting their trademark red overalls and matching hard hats.

This in contrast to the glamorous ball gowns and national costumes worn by some of the guests on the red carpet.

Singing songs of land ownership and insulting the president with crude songs referring to the Nkandla scandal as they entered parliament, they are the ones everyone here is watching, even if some figures of the governing African National Congress (ANC) have studiously tried to ignore Mr Malema and his noisy crowd.
The EFF have promised to obey the rules of parliament but are challenging Mr Zuma’s speech with interruptions.

How will the speaker react and will there be consequences for any breach of decorum? Hard to tell. And what about security? When they jammed the phone signals last time around MPs were furious.

EFF leader Julius Malema led protests inside parliament during last year’s state of the nation address, resulting in him and members of his party being thrown out by security guards.

Mr Zuma is also under intense pressure to use his speech to deliver a plan to improve the county’s struggling economy, the BBC’s Milton Nkosi reports from South Africa.

Earlier, hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets to protest over a range of issues, including Mr Zuma’s handling of the economy.

Supporters of the governing African National Congress (ANC) have also been demonstrating outside parliament to show their loyalty to Mr Zuma.

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