Cape Town - Defence Minister Thandi Modise on Tuesday said “fokol” was put on the Russian commercial vessel ship, Lady R, when it docked at the Simon's Town navy base late last year.
Modise was responding to DA MP Kobus Marais during a debate on the budget vote for the Department of Defence and Military Veterans on Tuesday.
Marais said authorisation was granted to the Lady R to “bypass commercial ports and abuse the country’s naval base instead”.
He asked who had authorised the vessel and whether the 2019 and 2020 import permits for the Russian ammunition were still valid.
“Something was loaded onto the Lady R. Was it ammunition? If not, release the vessel’s cargo manifest to confirm this,” he said.
African Christian Democratic Party chief whip Steve Swart said his party shared concerns about the docking of the cargo ship.
In response, Modise said she disagreed with Marais.
“I want to ask your permission, chair, to use fokol. In my home town it means nothing,” she said.
“I will reiterate what I said. We put fokol, nothing, onto that ship,” she said.
Her reference to the word “fokol”drew a point of order from DA MP Andrew Whitfield, asking whether it was parliamentary to use the word in the House.
Presiding officer Supra Mahumapelo said he would make a ruling on the matter later, and Modise said she deliberately asked to be allowed to use the word.
Turning to respond further to Marais, Modise noted that nobody could talk against “your relationship with Israel”, but the relationship of the ANC with Russia “should be tampered with”.
“The relationship which is between the Russian and South African arm predates my coming here and the relationship and ordering whatever it was on that ship that was delivered in (the) Lady R spectacle.
“Maybe we must be advised whether we must jettison every relationship that we have. Maybe you must tell honourable members whether the 14 members of the defence secretariat and military, who are on their way in the next few weeks to the US, must be stopped because you are to tell us we are sucking up to the US.”
She also said South Africa handled relations country by country.
The minister said she welcomed the inquiry into the Lady R saga announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“I will still be able to say and I will reiterate what I said that the defence, if it has lied to me that something was put to, it would matter.
“All documentation from the time the order was made in 2018 up to the time of offloading, all documentation of Sars (SA Revenue Service) will be made to that inquiry so that we can be allowed to think and proceed with other business of the defence,” Modise added.