Bickering over paternity, racism and nepotism dwarfs Parly debate on violence

2015-11-13 17:51
Bathabile Dlamini. Photo: Elizabeth Sejake

Bathabile Dlamini. Photo: Elizabeth Sejake

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A debate in Parliament this week on the 16-day campaign against violence against women and children was overshadowed by tongue lashings and insults among MPs.

Rape statistics were cited in speech after speech, but any meaningful discussion fell through the cracks in a maze of insults.

In the firing line was social development minister and leader of the ANC Women’s League, Bathabile Dlamini – who was absent from the sitting.

Dlamini and the ANC were attacked over the recent Women’s League march to protect the dignity of President Jacob Zuma.

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu’s paternity controversy also received attention.

The many references made to maintenance defaulters seemingly became too much for EFF MPs, who objected on point of orders.

DA MP Zak Mbhele retorted: “If you can’t stand the heat, stop putting buns in the oven.”

Shivambu recently admitted that a child was his after initially denying it.

Mbhele also took on Nancy Sihlwayi, Eastern Cape MEC for social development. Sihlwayi was in the news earlier for alleged nepotism after she reportedly put her sister’s name on a list of needy students who were funded by her department.

Mbhele said Sihlwayi may have taken the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin song Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves too literally.

Mbhele was on a roll until an EFF MP raised a point of order and asked that he should speak English “like a black man”.

This was followed by nearly 10 minutes of bickering over the use of racist epitaphs.

Agang MP Andries Tlouamma’s take on the 16 day-campaign of no violence against women and children was for “women to leave other women’s husbands alone”.

Tlouamma, who spoke in Sepedi during the sitting with no translators due to the strike by support staff, said to Media24 afterwards: “Women should not mess with other women’s marriages and men should not use their women as stress relief.”

In an attack on Zuma, EFF MP Mmabatho Mokause referred to media reports that one of his wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, had been kicked out of his Nkandla home. According to her, this was also abuse.

“You must set the example,” she said.

She added that there was no urgency to eradicate violence against women and children because the ANC’s “only mission is to protect one man”.

Other MPs tried to get serious. Cope MP Deidre Carter, asked: “Does the indifferent and bad implementation of government programmes and failing service delivery not also constitute ‘violence’ against women, children, the old and the frail?”

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe warned that there was a real threat that South Africa would become desensitised to the plight of the most vulnerable in society.
Read more on:    bathabile dlamini  |  parliament

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