Hot tempers and foul gas in the wee hours

2014-11-22 00:00

CAPE TOWN — People say you should not ­discuss money when you are sleepy, but that didn’t stop MPs late on Thursday and into the early hours of yesterday.

Especially not in the opposition benches ­occupied by EFF members, who were still awake enough to make their message to the ANC ­government plain: “We don’t trust you with our money”.

Discussions on the adjustment budget were handled from 9 pm, after high drama earlier in the day.

The sitting, which began at 2 pm, finally ­concluded a few minutes before 4 am after what was probably the longest sitting ever in ­democratic South Africa.

The EFF opposed each of the budget adjustments for 40 state departments and entities.

EFF MP Godrich Gardee used his turn to score points off the ANC on everything from Nkandla to the speaker’s driver’s licence.

Political philosopher Franz Fanon was even quoted in the early hours.

“We don’t trust you with our money, because you use it to fund luxuries like Nkandla. We don’t trust you with our money because you use money meant for police stations to pay for security ­upgrades at Nkandla.

“We don’t trust you with our money because you use it to obtain driver’s licences, like that of the honourable speaker Baleka Mbete, ­fraudulently.”

Another point of explosive debate was the “gas” allegedly given off from the EFF’s rubber gumboots.

Around midnight, EFF chief whip Floyd ­Shivambu asked Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande how many places there were for first-year students at tertiary institutions.

Amid laughter, a visibly riled Nzimande snapped, “Anyone who wears gumboots for so long … the gas in them is a health hazard”.

The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked if such a remark was parliamentary.

Later, Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery also resorted to the gas when asked why the public protector wasn’t getting more money.

The EFF was not amused, Shivambu leaping up to cry, “We aren’t here to play games. We aren’t going to take nonsense from that guy”, while another EFF MP commented that the ANC, not the EFF, was giving off gas.

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