EFF draws fire after Chirwa’s heartfelt public apology

Public Apology on failure to attend Budget Speech in Parliament. File Picture

Public Apology on failure to attend Budget Speech in Parliament. File Picture

Published Mar 6, 2024


Cape Town - Economic Freedom Fighters' member of the National Assembly, Naledi Chirwa, has penned a heartfelt public apology for failing to attend the Budget Speech in Parliament last month.

In a letter that has sparked debate on social media platforms, Chirwa expressed regret for failing to attend Parliament because she had to be with her sick four-month-old baby.

Chirwa's apology reads: “My daughter is currently with my mother until post-elections; this is to allow me the opportunity to be completely engaged in organisational activities during this period and to form part of the collective that will usher in an EFF government post-May 29, 2024.”

Chirwa said that she had reported her absence from the organisational duties of the organisation, but had not informed the designated whip of their caucus in Parliament, and was regretful for it.

“I attended the PC for Higher Education in Parliament on a virtual platform on the same day and contributed to the business of the day. Unfortunately for the Budget Speech, there was no hybrid facility that could allow me to be present online (only physical attendance for the Budget Speech), thus my inability to be present.

Chirwa added that she was fully committed to her party, saying:“ I do not doubt my commitment to the movement of the people and the responsibility we have been entrusted with in the Parliament of South Africa. This is the primary reason why I went on leave a day before I gave birth and returned two days prior to the lapse of my maternity leave.

“I will fulfil the reprimand set by the organisation for my absence the day to purchase two gazebos before the 28th of March, and second to that, to publicise this apology as I have done.” Chirwa added.

However, the EFF has drawn criticism for what X (formerly known as Twitter) users are seeing as misogynistic behaviour.

“Naledi’s apology is horrific for many reasons but the most heinous part - for me - is where she mentions to have only gone on maternity just a day before giving birth and returned to work a whole two months before her leave lapsed. That’s no badge of honour, it’s criminal!,“ - @Moanerleaser said.

“Naledi is protesting, not apologising. She is telling us what’s happening in the EFF. A one man show that bullies women in particular into public humiliation and control. But that’s the party she signed up for. That is who they are.” - @NeoMkwane said.

“I do get the sense that Naledi wrote that apology letter specifically so it would elicit this type of response from us. Like, we didn't need to know about the gazebos But it's good. I've always said that the main problem with the EFF is its testosterone laden leadership” - @Khuze_Elikhulu said.

“I am so sorry Naledi. I’m sorry that you spent the best part of your (early) activism reminding womxn of their rights only to later be denied maternity leave and worse, that you have to apologise for prioritising your new-born’s health. I hope the little one gets well soon.” - @AluChokoe said.

“I appreciate Sixolise's explanation cos I was not aware Naledi was one of several MPs that had to apologize. On the issue of cutting maternity leave short, as a Mom who was pregnant and working, I also chose to cut my maternity leave & return early so I understand why she did.” - @phakxx said.

EFF National Communications Manager, Sixolise Gcilishe, responded to X users with an explanation.

“Naledi and others missed Parliament and didn’t inform the whips. They were asked by the organisation to explain themselves. They did. And then asked to issue a public apology as public representatives. Naledi just happened to be the first one to, it’s not an isolated case.

“A lot here don’t understand commitment and sacrifices. They think women do things because they are forced, not because they have decided and understand that they are in a revolution.

“Watch and learn then. Watch and learn,” Gcilishe said on X.