Parliament - The ANC has resolved to be patient with firebrand members of the Economic Freedom Party who ignore parliamentary rules instead of trading insults with them, ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said on Monday.
“We are patient, we really are. Our patience takes into consideration the fact that some of the EFF do not know the rules,” Sizani told a media briefing following the ruling party's caucus lekgotla at the weekend.
He went on to accuse the far-left party of intolerance and a lack of respect for their political opponents.
“When they exercise impatience on every sentence... object to this, object to that, every sentence, it shows that the impatience is not only based on a lack of understanding of the rules but also on the fact that they do not respect, they are not tolerant.”
He added: “They truly believe they have got a freedom of expression, a right to say whatever they have to say, including parts of it that attacks the person, attacks your views and sometimes insult it.”
But the ANC had instructed its members not to retaliate in kind, he said.
“So we say to members of the ANC: be patient, listen, have a superior argument... when the EFF insults anyone of us, we are not allowed by our own party discipline to insult back.
“So anyone of us who is tempted to shout at them, is told 'you will not do it again'.”
The EFF's interjections have caused fireworks in the National Assembly since the party took up the 25 seats it won in the May elections. Last month, EFF leader Julius Malema was told to leave the chamber after refusing to withdraw his statement that the ANC government murdered striking miners at Marikana.
Last week, EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu called Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela a liar after he drew an apparent comparison between Malema and German dictator Adolf Hitler.
Called to order by Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, Shivambu asked: “Chair, how do I say that he is not telling the truth? What is the proper word? At least guide me so that I know the rules. The reality is that he's not telling the truth.”
He earned further rebuke for referring to Manamela by his first name but insisted that he would not use customary “honourable” because, he said, it did not apply to the deputy minister and most other members of the National Assembly.