DA and EFF take aim at Ramaphosa in Parliament

BY CHARL BOSCH - NOVEMBER 6, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused the African National Congress (ANC) of failing to find a solution in securing the R2.33-billion needed to cover the shortfall brought on by the zero percent increase in university fees.

Speaking in a statement after raising the matter to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament on Thursday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the ruling party lacks the will and leadership to make the funds available, even though they could implement measures to do so.

“It is clear that President Zuma, Deputy President Ramaphosa and the rest of the executive would rather prioritise funding the lavish lives of themselves and other fruitless and non-essential expenditure rather than investing in the future of the country by prioritising opportunity and ensuring universities are adequately funded,” Maimane said.

Tensions in the National Assembly again threatened to boil over after Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MP’s continuously raised point of order as to Ramaphosa’s involvement in the recent scandal involving cellphone giant MTN.

“You presided over MTN for years, avoiding taxes to enrich you. How can you be trusted to oversee any peace process? How will we know you are not thieving again," EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said to jeers from the ruling party bench.

Told by Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli to refrain from using so-called unparliamentarily language, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen rose to defend Ndlozi’s remarks, saying Ramaphosa would need to grow a thicker skin if he wants to become president.

Moments later, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said no court has ever found Ramaphosa guilty of taking money illegally and that Ndlozi should withdraw the thief remark.

Ndlozi refused, saying members of the ruling party usually refer to apartheid as being a crime against humanity even though no court has ever ruled so, adding that he was being unfairly treated.

A shouting match then ensued between EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, after the former rejected her plea not to call Ramaphosa a thief. A furious Zulu then berated Shivambu for calling her “that member”, saying “I have a name, it is Minister Lindiwe Daphne Zulu” before taking her seat.

Proceedings then turned heated after Maimane said a cut down in the VIP protection and Department of International Relations and Cooperation budgets, could be used to fund the university deficit, leading to Ramaphosa remarking,” That, to me, falls in the category of a cheap shot, you have no monopoly on ideas”.

More jeering followed with Ndlozi bashing Ramaphosa’s remarks that the recent student protests were as a result of the ANC becoming victims of its own success, saying “You are deliberately misleading the House. Students brought them to that, kicking and screaming in that soprano voice of comrade Blade Nzimande”.

A visibly annoyed Tsenoli then remarked that members had adopted a kindergarten approach before sighing, “Honourable members. This is bad. This is absolutely bad and out of order”.

Ramaphosa’s question and answers session finished not long after.