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TOTAL DISGRACE: BRAWL BREAKS OUT IN SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT AS FAR-LEFT MPs OPPOSED TO PRESIDENT ZU


Several people were injured in the fight , dubbed a national embarrassment and broadcast around the world.

Mbeki lost a bitter power struggle with Zuma in 2008 and has since offered only coded criticisms of his rival. But addressing students at the University of South Africa in the capital, Pretoria, on Friday, the 72-year-old said: “I think we would all of us agree that what happened in parliament yesterday was very troubling.

“I’m sure that all of us, including the parliamentarians, never expected that such a thing would happen in parliament ... I sat in the same hall

from 1994 to 2008 and either listened to or

participated in making many state of the nation addresses and nothing of the sort ever happened.”

Former president Thabo Mbeki, said he believes that his successor Jacob Zuma was wrong to duck a question in parliament that led to unprecedented chaos and a fresh round of national soul searching.

Mbeki added, Zuma should have directly answered when asked by opposition MPs when he will repay millions in public funds spent on security upgrades at his private homestead, reports the Guardian . He thinks it would have been the easiest way to deal with the issue.

Zuma, was heckled during his state of the nation address on Thursday evening, sat down as the parliamentary speaker ordered armed security guards and police to drag the Economic Freedom Fighters kicking and fighting out of the chamber.

Mbeki did not make direct reference to the controversy around Nkandla, the homestead on which, anti-corruption watchdog found, 246m rand (£13.73m) of taxpayers’ money was spent in a display of “opulence on a grand scale” amid a sea of poverty.

But he said he felt the problem was “bigger than parliament”.