Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme did not react when she was repeatedly called a “straat meid” (wild woman or prostitute) during the debate on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament on Tuesday.
Van Damme had just taken to the podium in Parliament to deliver her response to President Jacob Zuma’s address last week‚ when an MP‚ “on a point of order”‚ stood to question her.
“I won’t take a question from that idiot‚” said Van Damme‚ triggering an episode of name-calling.
“I guess she don’t want to take a question from me‚ thank you‚ honourable chairperson” said the ANC MP‚ sheepishly taking his seat.
“Yes‚ you were begging for DA membership; now here you are trying to show them that you are committed to the ANC. Sit down!” Van Damme bellowed.
She ignored repeated requests for order by chairperson of the National Council of Provinces‚ Thandi Modise.
“Hou jou bek. Put KFC in it‚” van Damme said to the ANC MP.
Modise pleaded with Van Damme to cease swapping insults with MPs and continue with her speech.
Another MP‚ however‚ called for van Damme to be disciplined for using “offensive language”. Van Damme hit back. “Offensive language? You here on Sona were on the floor‚ shouting ‘f*** you’ to members of the opposition‚” Van Damme retorted.
She was referring to comments made to DA MP John Steenhuisen‚ during the State of the Nation Address.
Modise‚ seemingly shocked by Van Damme’s behaviour‚ said: “Honourable Van Damme‚ I have never seen anybody behaving the way you do on the podium. Please desist and take your seat.”
“She’s a straat meid‚” shouted an MP.
Modise ignored the comment and instead questioned Van Damme on whether she had called an MP an idiot.
“I withdraw‚” Van Damme responded‚ but continued to insist derogatory terms were thrown around during the State of the Nation Address last week.
“She is a straat meid‚” the same MP shouted‚ for a second time.
For the second time‚ Modise failed to address the MP.
“Honourable members‚ all of you who are making gestures‚ vulgar in your language‚ you disrespect this house‚ unfortunately‚ and the constituencies that put us here‚” she said.
Modise said she would look in to the record to identify which MP was responsible for vulgar language flung about during the State of the Nation Address. She said the member would be disciplined.
However‚ she said nothing about taking action against the MP who had called Van Damme a straat meid.
On Wednesday‚ TMG Digital asked Van Damme about the straat meid insult. She referred the question to Steenhuisen. He could not be immediately reached for comment. -TMG Digital
Watch her full speech here: