Cape Town - Parliament erupted into a points- of-order shouting match on Wednesday after Minister for Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu referred to EFF parliamentary leader Julius Malema as “Juju”.
Shabangu was speaking during the Women’s Day debate, a debate already marked by a slew of “points of order”.
Under parliamentary rules, MPs refer to each other as “the honourable” – a point hammered home earlier by the ANC benches when the new EFF MPs first took their seats.
Since then points of order appear to have become a tool of politicking across the floor, disrupting a speaker’s flow as the MP must halt his or her speech until the point of order is resolved.
Following Shabangu’s remark, EFF MPs jumped up and pointed out there was no “Juju” present, only EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema.
This, in turn, triggered a ruling from the presiding officer, National Council of Provinces deputy chairman Raseriti Tau, there was only one commander-in-chief in South Africa – the president of South Africa.
But the EFF would have none of it: all political parties referred to their leaders as “presidents”, so what was the point? And EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called the chairman to order, adding: “According to the rules of Parliament there’s not a person called Juju.”
Tau firmly handled the boiling tempers.
ANC MP Mmamoloko Kubayi’s point of order to censure EFF MPs for unparliamentary language came to naught.
While Tau was prepared to listen to the Hansard transcription of the House debate on the matter, Ndlozi admitted he had called him a coward.
“I am very sorry,” Ndlozi said.
Tau, who said he had not heard the comment, accepted.
Shabangu also apologised to “the honourable Malema”.