South African Opposition Party Disrupts Ramaphosa’s Keynote Speech

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s second-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, disrupted the start of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state-of-the-nation address in parliament.

EFF leader Julius Malema and the party’s lawmakers prevented Ramaphosa from speaking as they demanded he remove Pravin Gordhan as Public Enterprises Minister, citing the mismanagement of state-owned companies Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and South African Airways, which his department oversees.

“Please fire Pravin Gordhan now,” Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, the EFF’s spokesman said.

The country’s debt-laden power utility Eskom resumed rolling power cuts on Jan. 4 and has warned that electricity disruptions will continue as it grapples with operational challenges. That came after South African Airways was placed under a local form of bankruptcy protection in December.

Members of the EFF party have been involved in several brawls in parliament over the past six years, with most of their criticism directed at former President Jacob Zuma when he was in office. Scuffles broke out on July 11 when they disrupted Gordhan’s policy speech, demanding he step down.

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