Baleka Mbete: I lost it with EFF

2014-09-23 21:44

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has admitted she “lost it” on the day that the Economic Freedom Fighters disrupted President Jacob Zuma’s question time in Parliament.

Addressing journalists at an outreach meeting in Johannesburg tonight, she said: “I’ll tell you about August 21 (when Zuma fielded questions) where I thought I lost it that day. Alright? It’s out there,” she said.

But she said it was getting it wrong to reduce “the cause of what went on that day to the speaker”.

She said either the media “deliberately” got it wrong or didn’t understand what transpired.

Mbete also said presiding officers were not aware that journalists were ordered out of the chamber when the EFF staged a sit-in after being chased out. All other MPs left the House.

Referring to the EFF as “young people”, Mbete said they provided excitement in the House.

But she also said when MPs interact with the executive, it wasn’t about how loud they were, but about the quality of the interaction.

She said going forward, she hoped Parliament would be less about “drama”.

Opposition parties last week tried to pass a motion of no confidence in her, saying she was partisan, but the ANC changed it to a motion of confidence.

National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise at the end of the evening sang happy birthday to Mbete, who turns 65 on Heritage Day.

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