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Pretoria - If it’s too hot in the kitchen, get out! This is what IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe was told by Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana during Thursday’s slot for members’ statements and ministerial replies.
The MP’s statement on the exclusion of three blind would-be students from a university seemed to get the minister hot under the collar. Discrimination of 48 years of apartheid and 350 years of colonialism could not be reversed in just 20 years, Xingwana said. “Since when did the IFP care for people with disabilities or women?” she asked.
Amid the heated exchange of words, Xingwana - to underscore her comments - referred to former IFP chairwoman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, now leader of the National Freedom Front and political rival of the IFP. That got two other IFP MPs to their feet, before Van Der Merwe got her turn to take exception over what she called the personal attack by the minister for raising a legitimate issue that falls under her portfolio.
“It is hot in the kitchen and if you don’t want to be in politics, in Parliament, get out of the kitchen!” the minister retorted.
Thursday’s members’ statement time in the National Assembly was indeed hot.
Earlier, DA MP Masizole Mnqasela said Wednesday’s scenes of damage to property, looting of foreign hawkers’ stalls during a march to the Western Cape legislature was an ANC “ungovernability campaign” in the province run by the DA.
The ANC, Mnqasela said, made up “false figures” about the Western Cape that is widely regarded as the best-run province - unlike Gauteng where unemployment had risen.
“The ANC will never succeed in making the Western Cape ungovernable. We will win,” Mnqasela said.
National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel responded that nobody should ever support violent behaviour.
“Together as Parliament we should speak out,” he said, but also noted the march was not organised by the ANC before slapping down the DA MP’s liberal interpretation of unemployment statistics.
Manuel was backed by State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, who said the protest was not an ANC one but “organised by suffering communities of this city (Cape Town)”. The violence erupted when the protesters were ignored, he said.