Yesterday in the National Assembly in Parliament, an altercation broke out between MPs from the EFF and Agang during President Ramaphosa’s Q&A session. When a point of order turned violent, chairperson Thoko Didiza called security.
According to EWN, the session was suspended for five minutes after Agang’s Andries Tlouamma and the EFF’s Nazier Paulsen were escorted out following their altercation:
Earlier in the session, President Ramaphosa addressed corruption and the looting of funds at VBS Mutual Bank and called for those responsible to be prosecuted. The parliamentary chaos began then as the DA’s John Steenhuisen called the EFF Members of Parliament ‘VBS bank looters’. Julius Malema responded by calling him a racist:
‘You are not going to call me a VBS looter, you racist young white man who was accused of rape.’
This was followed by shouting and chanting. After Andries Tlouamma’s interjection – arguing that white MPs should be allowed to speak in parliament – the shouting escalated to swearing, blows and the throwing of a water bottle when Nazier Paulsen jumped the benches to tackle the Agang SA MP.
Additionally, according to News24, the ANC’s Malusi Gigaba raised his pinky finger to the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi following the MP’s suggestive reference to the recently leaked sex tape of Gigaba. Gigaba has since apologised for this gesture:
I apologise, unreservedly, for this gesture. The petty taunts that provoked it and the strain I have been taking, over the past 10 days, are no excuse for my indiscretion which is perfectly summed-up in this tweet by @SpheDludla. https://t.co/Gqko6q5fG2
— Malusi Gigaba (@mgigaba) November 7, 2018
President Ramaphosa called for an end to racism and replied to other questions:
President #Ramaphosa: It is our diversity that we must promote, as it is this diversity that strengthens us as we deal with the legacy of the past. We must not compromise; we must rid our country of racism and displays of ethnic chauvinism and narrow nationalism#RamaphosaQandA pic.twitter.com/vfQl8rswVa
— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) November 6, 2018
While personal infighting is being foregrounded in parliament, the focus of the National Assembly should be on the economy, the gender-based violence crisis, the education crisis, addressing corruption and financial looting, and other key issues. We hope to see these issues being centred soon – you can watch the full live stream of President Ramaphosa’s responses to questions here.