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Cape Town - Lindiwe Sisulu, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, ended up with the proverbial flea in her ear in the National Assembly on Thursday.
Speaker Max Sisulu ruled that a remark she made last year about MP David Maynier, of the DA, had been unparliamentary and should be withdrawn.
The comment in question was made during a row over executive chartered jet flights made by Sisulu while she was the defence minister.
In the face of persistence from Maynier, Sisulu told him to “keep his flea-infested body at peace and sit down”.
On Thursday, at the Speaker’s insistence, Sisulu made several attempts at withdrawing this remark.
First she said that the “apt description” was withdrawn. Then Sisulu said that she was withdrawing what “I thought was an apt description of the manic behaviour”.
Eventually she gave in and said: “I withdraw.”
But it was not the end of the issue because a row then broke out over whether she had made a mockery of Parliament and whether what she had said while withdrawing her remark was also unparliamentary.
It was left to Maynier to enquire cheekily whether Sisulu had ended up “with a flea in her ear”.