The affordable education loan option
Pretoria - The ANC has condemned as “deplorable” the conduct of two MPs, including one of its own, for allegedly calling Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson a “bitch” and a “liar” during a committee meeting this week.
Accused of using delaying tactics to avoid accountability, Joemat-Pettersson was apparently called a “liar” by ANC MP Salam Abram, while DA MP Pieter van Dalen is said to have referred to her as a “teef”, an Afrikaans word for bitch, during the heated debate on the Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill.
But Van Dalen has denied the accusations, saying the minister was “probably hearing voices”.
On Thursday, ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms the deplorable and abusive conduct” of the two MPs against Joemat-Pettersson during her appearance before the portfolio committee on agriculture, fisheries and forestry on Wednesday.
“We have learned that during the heated debate in the committee yesterday, ANC MP Salam Abram called the minister a ‘liar’, conducted himself rowdily and disruptively before storming out of the meeting in anger. It is also reported that, as the meeting adjourned, DA MP Pieter van Dalen referred to the minister as ‘teef’, Afrikaans for ‘bitch’,” said Sizani.
He described the two MPs’ conduct as “appalling, disrespectful to this institution and indeed action should be taken against them”.
“We are disappointed and outraged by the unacceptable conduct of the ANC MP, and we will ensure that a caucus disciplinary process is immediately instituted against him,” said Sizani.
On Van Dalen’s remark, Sizani said this was “grossly demeaning and sexist”.
But Van Dalen denied the allegations levelled against him. “I said in the committee and today I will say under oath that I did not say that. I don’t know if she’s hearing voices. She’s known for hearing voices. And that word is not even in my vocabulary,” said Van Dalen.
But the DA MP said Abram was “totally correct” for calling Joemat-Pettersson a liar.
“She is a liar. And I’ve caught her out lying before. I will say on record that she is a liar,” said Van Dalen.
He said Joemat-Pettersson asked for it for calling the committee “the most incompetent committee”.
After the meeting, DA MP Annette Steyn said the minister had again passed the buck for the department’s poor performance. “It is evident that the minster has absolutely no idea about the role of Parliament,” said Steyn.
She said the DA would write to the leader of government business, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, asking him to call Joemat-Pettersson to order.