SONA debate: 'People are no longer taking Parliament seriously'
Cape Town - It was round two for Parliament when dramatic scenes led to the collapse of the House on Tuesday as insults flew across the benches of the Chamber.
ANC MP Boy Mamabolo sparked chaos by demanding answers from EFF leader Julius Malema over claims he was abusing his wife.
Malema initially dug in his heels but later dropped the name of President Cyril Ramaphosa for abusing his late wife, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.
Later, in a tweet, Malema accused ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina and her deputy Doris Dlakude of mobilising their members to use gender-based violence (GBV) to attack him.
[Must See] ANC whippery, both Pemmy Majodina and Doris Dlakude in an @MYANC WhatsApp group encouraged their rascals to use GBV false allegations for political point scoring. When we respond truthfully, they want to cry foul! pic.twitter.com/kc8Ob5OcYT— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) February 18, 2020
During the State of the Nation Address debate on Tuesday, Malema denied abusing his wife.
But Mamabolo would have none of it. “The fellow is distracting us. Why are you involving the president? You are abusing your wife,” charged Mamabolo.
Malema said he was suing him for R1million for repeating the claim outside the House last week.
ANC MP Tandi Mahambehlala said Malema was casting aspersions on the president as the question was about him.
Malema said he was not abusing his wife. “I said I don’t beat up women, My lawyers have written to Mamabolo because he repeated it outside. He must pay me R1m and I am taking him to court,” said Malema.
“I don’t have a history of abusing women. I am happily married,” he said.
ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe warned that Parliament had descended into chaos and people were no longer taking it seriously.
“The dignity and decorum of this House must be restored as a matter of priority, particularly during joint sittings. We are tired of hearing people on the ground saying ‘when is the circus beginning’.
“We are tired to hear people saying that this House is one of the best entertainments they can see on TV,” said Meshoe.
Another ANC MP, Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, said GBV couldn’t be used for political point-scoring. “We have as a House politicised the issue,” she said.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said it was appalling that the serious issue of GBV was used for political gain. She said it was not a good day to be a South African.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh said Ramaphosa was capable of answering questions raised in the House. The president would reply to the debate on Thursday. But when Malema asked him last year if he was abusing his current wife, Dr Tshepo Motsepe, Ramaphosa denied the allegation.
ANC MPs said this was a political tactic by Malema as he sought to distract from the question about his own doings.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said it was a shame to witness the chaotic scenes again after the Sona descended into chaos on Thursday. He said the parties must be able to rein-in their members.
Echoing the sentiments on gender-based violence, National Freedom Party’s Munzoor Shaik-Emam said many women were raped and abused every day, but politicians in Parliament had decide to downplay the matter.