Department’s budget debate gets ugly as k-word is used


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema to take action and suspend MP Nazier Paulsen, after an alleged racist incident in Parliament on Tuesday.

Less than an hour into the Department of International Relations and Co-operation’s budget vote in the Old Assembly Chamber, proceedings became heated after National Freedom Party (NFP) MP, Shaik Emam, accused the DA of showing hypocrisy by supporting Israel and oppressing the people of Palestine.

“Shame on those members of the Democratic Alliance who chose to harm and oppress the people in Palestine. The very people that are part of the Democratic Alliance chose to oppress their very own people,” he said.

“All law-abiding South Africans must reject the Democratic Alliance because they don’t have objectivity and know how to oppress the people of this world”.

As he was continuing to jeers and heckling from other MPs, DA Youth Chairperson Yusuf Cassim jumped up to complain that Paulsen swore at him. With his voice audible over the parliamentary mics, Paulsen then accused Cassim of swearing at him before shouting “you Zionist sell-out k***r”.

“He has used the worst profanity chairperson. He must withdraw,” Cassim said. Presiding Officer Grace Boroto however stated she could not hear the argument and asked that written submissions be handed to the rules committee for further investigation.

DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Sources James Lorimer then stood up to defend Cassim’s claims, saying “we have just heard the honourable members use the k-word in this house. It is utterly unacceptable and action needs to be taken”.

With shouts of “racist” continuing to be exchanged between Paulsen and Cassim, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor rose to state that the war of the wards was likely due to Cassim mentioning something Paulsen took offence to.

“I have been observing the two members. They have been engaging in an altercation for some time… there was a period where the honourable Paulsen kept quiet and where the honrouble Cassim made a comment which caused honourable Paulsen to rise. Both were involved and there must be a proper investigation,” Pandor said.

Continuing after Boroto had called for the various party Chief Whips to intervene and have the matter resolved, Emam stated that the world in question referred to a non-believer before resuming his speech.

In a statement afterwards, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen stated that Paulsen choice of words showed that the EFF could not be trusted as a party.

“As elected representatives in the people’s Parliament, we should be leading by example. It is quite frankly despicable that such an attack could take place within these chambers, when racism remains prevalent in communities across South Africa,” he said.

“This behaviour demonstrates yet again that the EFF remains a party that is determined to divide, and not unite South Africans. The DA therefore demands that EFF leader, Julius Malema, initiate disciplinary action and, pending the outcome, suspend Paulsen immediately”.

No comment from the EFF has yet been made.