Show some respect – Jacob Zuma

2014-07-24 16:43

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President Jacob Zuma has rebuked MPs, reminding them of the importance of respecting each other and of adhering to decorum when in the National Assembly.

Responding to the debate on his budget vote, which yesterday stopped short of degenerating into a fist fight between ANC and EFF MPs, a business-like Zuma said such behaviour was not what was expected from the country’s elected representatives.

“Respect is an important ingredient in the interaction of society. I’m talking about respect, the necessity of respect. ... The manner in which we interact is absolutely important. I’m not pointing fingers at any individual, I’m talking on this issue on a general note,” he said.

“If I could remember as a young man, when I was a referee I would say deal with the ball and not the person. It’s always important that we deal with the facts. We are a bigger school, people look at us. They are expecting from us a lot and all I’m saying is it’s important to ensure that this house has the kind of decorum that is expected of it.”

Tempers flared during the debate on the presidency budget vote yesterday when deputy minister in the presidency Buti Manamela labelled EFF leader Julius Malema a modern-day Adolf Hitler.

Manamela said Malema was a dictator who was worshipped in his party.

“[It] makes me shake in my boots that here before our eyes, Adolf Hitler has come back from the dead,” said Manamela.

This elicited an angry response from EFF MPs, led by their chief whip, Floyd Shivambu, who bitterly complained about Manamela comparing Malema to the Nazi leader.

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli intervened, asking Manamela to withdraw the remark. At one point, EFF and ANC MPs threatened to deal with each other outside the chamber, a clear indication of possible physical fights.

Zuma insisted that MPs should persuade rather than insult each other.

“My understanding is that even if we are in opposition, you want to persuade your opposition to agree with your point,” he said.

Zuma also hit back at DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, who asked him yesterday to either show leadership on crucial matters or step aside. He said Maimane should thank the ANC for the freedom of being able to lead the DA from Parliament.

Read: Show leadership and respond to Nkandla report, Maimane tells Zuma

“Honourable Mr Maimane, enjoy the freedom brought to you by the ANC with our full compliment[s] or step aside,” Zuma said to roars of laughter from ANC benches.

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