SA parliament brawl over Zuma heckling

Media captionPunches and bottles are thrown in South Africa’s parliament

A brawl broke out in the South African parliament on Tuesday as security officers were ordered to forcibly remove opposition MPs.

Several punches were thrown as the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were expelled after trying to stop President Jacob Zuma speaking.

In March a court ruled Mr Zuma violated the constitution by failing to pay back public money used on his mansion.

It is the second brawl in parliament this month.

Security guards were ordered by the speaker to eject the people who were being disruptive.

Guards surrounded the EFF MPs who were dressed in their trademark red boiler suits.

Objects, including bottles of water and a hard hat, were thrown as the guards tried to wrestle the MPs out of the chamber.

The EFF has denounced Mr Zuma as an “illegitimate” ruler who should step down.

South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, ruled that Mr Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money used to upgrade his private home in the rural area of Nkandla.

In a second case, at the end of April, a court said that Mr Zuma should be charged with corruption.

The case is related to a multi-billion dollar arms deal the government negotiated in 1999.

Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing, and says he will continue to “shepherd” the nation. His term is due to end in 2019.

In his first appearance after this court ruling at the beginning of May, a brawl also broke out as EFF members were evicted for heckling.

Controversial arms deal: What you need to know

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  • 1999: largest-ever post-apartheid arms deal announced with contracts totalling 30bn rand ($5bn; £2.5bn) to modernise national defence force
  • Deal involved companies from Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, France and South Africa
  • Allegations of bribery over deal dogged governments of President Jacob Zuma and predecessor Thabo Mbeki
  • Mr Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik convicted in 2005 for corruption over deal. Found guilty of trying to solicit bribe from Thint, local subsidiary of French arms firm Thales, on behalf of Mr Zuma – then deputy president. Released on parole on health grounds after serving just over two years
  • Another official, Tony Yengeni, chairman of parliament’s defence committee at time of deal and ANC chief whip, convicted of fraud in 2003. Also freed on parole after serving five months of four-year sentence
  • April 2016: commission of inquiry into deal found no further evidence of corruption or fraud.

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