Cape Town - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has accused opposition parties of political grandstanding after they levelled accusations against him over the water tanker debacle at his home.
Opposition parties on Tuesday, during a joint sitting of Parliament, told Zikalala he had stolen a water tanker and parked it outside his house to provide himself and his family with water, when the community needed it.
DA leader John Steenhuisen had earlier accused Zikalala of hijacking the water tanker.
But Zikalala said he had smoked a peace pipe with the residents of La Mercy, the eThekwini suburb where he lives, and he accused the DA leader of discrimination.
“Honourable president, I would like to respect your instruction that we should all pledge solidarity with the people and not use this platform for grandstanding. I feel compelled to clarify some few issues.
“Firstly, while we have made a public statement about the spat in La Mercy the fact of the matter is that in La Mercy I have been supporting that community for more than a year, including organising water. Post that incident I have provided them with four static tankers. But more than that, why should I do that? There is a councillor. But the councillor is missing in action. The councillor is from the DA,” said Zikalala.
“The leader of the opposition (Steenhuisen), one of the things we must do, we must stop discrimination. The leader of the opposition in this House, comes to the very same ward, ward 58. He chooses to go to the upmarket area, Umdloti, and ignores the people of La Mercy. Worse of that he does not visit those people who were in halls where they are accommodated.”
This elicited a response from Steenhuisen, who accused Zikalala of lying.
“The premier is lying. I went to Inanda and Tongaat. The premier is not telling the truth,” said Steenhuisen.
ANC members interjected and called on Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to ask Steenhuisen to withdraw his remarks that Zikalala was lying.
EFF MP Makoti Khawula also stepped in and accused Zikalala of lying.
After heated exchanges Police Minister Bheki Cele said that all MPs must “come to their senses”, and realise that this was a joint sitting on the disaster that affected many people in KwaZulu-Natal.