Several MPs from various political parties have denounced an altercation that marred an induction session in Parliament on Wednesday.
News24 earlier reported that at least seven red-clad EFF MPs were seen in front of the ANC’s benches pushing other MPs around over a disagreement.
The confrontation between ANC and EFF MPs had to be defused by an angry National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise.
According to DA MP Annelie Lotriet, who chaired the session to introduce new and returning MPs to the mechanics of legislating and lawmaking, EFF MP Makoti Khawula had used the opportunity to taunt and attack the ANC.
This led to some ANC MPs getting riled up, and a fracas ensued. It died down after Modise intervened.
IFP national spokesperson and MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said: “There is a time and space for politicking and the process that Parliament is undertaking currently of training is one that we need to respect, particularly new members who we expect to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.
“What is reckless and irresponsible is for returning members to be the ones derailing the process that is fundamentally aimed at enhancing the capabilities of new members.
“So as the IFP, we strongly condemn this morning’s behaviour, we certainly think its unparliamentary, it’s unbecoming and speaks to a lack of discipline on the part of those who engaged in it…”
ANC MP Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela said: “My input is simple. We as honourable members of this august house need to always carry ourselves with respect and dignity because that’s what South Africans expect of us, and I think we should be looking at how we can preserve the dignity of this august house for future generations to come.
“People must always be cognisant of what our mandate is here.”
The deputy secretary-general of the EFF and MP, Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi, explained that the altercation was in response to provocation by members of the ANC and their refusal to allow fellow Khawula to provide input during proceedings.
She added that howling ANC members had said that Khawula was taking too long in an apparent attempt to silence her.
Mkhaliphi said that it had been previously established that members should be allowed to ask questions freely.
“We denounce violence,” said Mkhaliphi, adding that the issue was attended to swiftly after the EFF’s leadership had been alerted.
EFF MP Naledi Chirwa, who was present at the proceedings, took to social media and repeated Mkhaliphi’s explanation.
Disclaimer: Mam’Khawula was asking a pertinent question and concern of how public participation should have an impact on bills. ANC members, with arrogance, felt it was okay to silence her. The constituency represented by Mam’Khawula will NOT be silenced and erased & we sit back. https://t.co/0MBvLr1NZq
— Naledi Chirwa (@NalediChirwa) June 12, 2019