Malema seethes at being told to behave
A stern warning by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to the EFF sparked a fracas in the National Assembly last night as the debate on the state of the nation address drew to a close.
As the final speaker in the debate on President Jacob Zuma’s opening of parliament’s speech, Nzimande said he had “revolutionary advice” for the Economic Freedom Fighters regarding their aggressive behaviour in parliament.
“Do not start a journey which you do not know where it might end, that’s not revolutionary,” he said.
“Because if the journey ends in a wrong place, we’re actually all in trouble. That’s revolutionary advice, honourable Malema, and we know what we’re talking about, we know where we’ve been in this country.
“We ask that you behave,” he said, amid loud cheers and a standing ovation from ANC MPS.
But this only served to provoke anger among EFF leader Julius Malema and his MPs, who argued that Nzimande had threatened them with violence.
EFF MPs were forcibly removed by state security forces last week after they defied National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete by ignoring her order for them to leave the house following their insistence to ask Zuma when he would he pay back some of the Nkandla money.
A visibly angry Malema said he was not scared of Nzimande, the ANC or Zuma.
“Deal with the issues and stop threatening us,” a raging Malema said, ignoring pleas to take his seat from presiding officer Cedrick Frolick.
His chief whip Floyd Shivambu also jumped in, demanding that Frolick instruct Nzimande to withdraw the “threat”.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh sought to assist Frolick in defusing the standoff, asking Nzimande to withdraw his remark. Nzimande then withdrew his remark. Earlier, Deputy Agriculture Minister Bheki Cele hit DA deputy chief whip John Steenhuisen below the belt with his remarks, while ANC MP Thandi Mahambehlala took exception when Shivambu, wittingly or otherwise, mispronounced her surname, effectively calling her a loose woman.
Cele told the joint sitting of parliament’s two houses he hoped one day Steenhuisen would be brave enough to disclose to the institution why he had left the KwaZulu-Natal legislature to move to Cape Town where he took up the job of a DA MP.
Cele was referring to a love affair Steenhuisen had with a married party official in 2010 when he served in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature.
Shivambu set the social media abuzz after pronouncing the surname of Mahembehlala as “Mahambelahla”, which is township slang for a woman of low morals.
The ANC MP requested National Council of Provinces chairman Thandi Modise to order Shivambu to withdraw the insult.
Shivambu, with a naughty smile, said: “Oh, yes, I had made a mistake honourable chair.”
Earlier, Steenhuisen complained about MPs being “screened for the first time ever” before they entered the house by members of the SAPS VIP protection unit deployed in parliament to guard ministers.
He argued that this violated lawmakers’ privilege of unfettered access to the NA chamber and demanded that Modise probe the matter.