FIGHT CLUB Part 2: Punches thrown in chaotic Parliament session
Parliament’s final report into the upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla residence, descended into further chaos on Friday morning when riot police had to intervene resulting in flared tempers and punches being exchanged.
The drama occurred after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela refused to leave the House as ordered by Chairman Cedric Frolick, after labelling Zuma a thief due to his alleged involvement in Grand Inga Hydro-electric dam project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"The EFF is tired of funding Zuma, the thief the criminal who refuses to pay a cent. The President of the ANC is the greatest thief in the world. Even South Africa knows very well that their president is a thief," she said.
Unwilling to retract her comment, Mashabela then resisted being escorted out of the House by sergeant-at-arms Regina Mohlomi, at which point the riot police arrived inside the National Assembly and proceeded to haul Mashabela out of her position. MP’s from the EFF and the Democratic Alliance (DA) tried to jumped to her defence but were punched by police. It was unclear as to whom the police where listing to when the mayhem ensued. The moment when police entered was not televised on the Parliamental television channel.
“Four of my members, two of them women, have been assaulted by police. They are Terri Stander, Gordon Mackay, Denise Robinson and Dean Macpherson,” DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said, adding that Stander had been “thrown to the floor and stood on by police”.
“The sergeant-at-arms is the villain in this case. I have no doubt. I think this is the lowest point in the post democratic history of this country. We've reached a crisis,” he said.
Earlier police had to move quickly prevent a possible scuffle after an irate Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, had called out EFF MP Godrich Gardee when an argument took place over the House’s microphones.
Followed by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Zulu reportedly stormed out of the Assembly and headed towards the opposition benches, shouting, “Where is he?” Gardee never emerged and Zulu had to be restrained by fellow ANC MP’s.
According to CityPress, Zulu later returned but was asked to leave by DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis, who said that she “brought shame to the House”. Zulu retaliated by shouting the word liar, which resulted in DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard complaining to Deputy National Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.
“The honourable minister Zulu has been seen referring to honourable Hill-Lewis as a liar. The evidence is all over YouTube,” she said, to which Tsenoli replied, “We do not use YouTube as a basis for making rulings in the House”
Proceedings to the debate had already been strained after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, had been heckled by opposition MP’s after being accused of limiting the time spend on the motions of parliament, to 45 minutes.
This was met with widespread opposition with parties calling for her to go. She later departed and handed proceedings over to Tsenoli.
CAPTION: Screen grab showing the moment when Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP, Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela, called President Jacob Zuma a thief, which later resulted in riot police forcing her from the House after she had refused to retract her comment having been told to do so by National Assembley Chairman, Cedrick Frolick. IMAGE sourced eNCA
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