‘Death sign’ outrages DA

2008-03-05 00:00

The DA has lodged a formal complaint with the speaker of Parliament regarding what the party called the threatening and unprofessional conduct of a senior ANC MP.

The DA was referring to last week’s incident when ANC MP Winkie Direko allegedly made "threatening" hand gestures directed at DA MP Diane Kohler-Barnard.

In a statement released yesterday, the DA interpreted the gesture as suggesting that Direko "wished to slit" Kohler-Barnard’s throat.

The alleged incident occurred when Kohler-Barnard was questioning Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula on the dissolution of the Scorpions.

"It is utterly unacceptable that a senior MP who has held such senior positions of authority thinks she can behave in this manner. Her threatening gesture is clearly unparliamentary and deserving of further sanction," the DA said in its statement.

Direko is the former premier of the Free State and has held other high-profile positions.

The official opposition is demanding that action be taken against Direko. "It should not be forgotten that other MPs have been ordered to leave the House for less."

If not dealt with, argued the DA, this kind of behaviour will not only encourage a culture of violence and intolerance, but will also undermine the ability of MPs to hold government accountable.

"Such conduct in Parliament is completely unacceptable and further serves to highlight the aggressive antagonism the ANC has towards anyone who questions their decisions, in this case, the proposed disbanding of the Scorpions … Such is the level of debate and discussion around the issue of the Scorpions — ask questions and you will be threatened."

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