Will Jeffery and Landers apologise?

2013-06-18 00:00

WITH two days to go before Parliament’s mid-year recess, at least two ANC MPs from KwaZulu-Natal are expected to eat humble pie.

Pietermaritzburg’s John Jeffery and Pinetown’s Luwellyn Landers are expected to apologise to DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and DA MP Mike Waters respectively this week.

Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo is likely to rule today that Jeffery must publicly apologise to Mazibuko in the National Assembly, after his sexist comments last week about her weight.

Mazibuko, who has been rubbing some ANC MPs up the wrong way because of her alleged “disrespect” towards President Jacob Zuma, was targeted by Jeffery during the presidency’s budget debate last week.

At issue was Jeffery’s comment that “while the honourable Mazibuko may be a person of substantial weight, her stature is questionable”.

The DA has asked for a ruling on the matter and Mfeketo is expected to give her finding in the House today.

Jeffery at the weekend made the UK Guardian’s “top 10 sexist comments in politics” list, along with UK PM David Cameron and Italy’s former PM Silvio Berlusconi, among others.

Meanwhile, DA deputy chief whip Sandy Kalyan and ANC caucus chairperson Jerry Thibedi — who were asked to mediate by Parliament’s chief whips forum — will meet Landers and Waters today.

Waters opened a case of intimidation against Landers a fortnight ago following an altercation in the corridor outside the National Assembly chamber.

This followed a comment by Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor in response to the “Know your DA” campaign, that all ANC MPs had fought against apartheid, unlike the opposition.

Not so, Waters shot back, pointing to some ex-Nats who were now ANC MPs.

While he was apparently referring to Gerhard Koornhof, it was a little too close for comfort for Landers, a former tricameral MP who served in P.W. Botha’s cabinet.

A furious Landers later asked Waters to step outside the chamber and apparently proceeded to threaten to “f**k you up”.

It is expected that Landers will be asked to apologise to Waters — probably in the House on Thursday — while Waters will be asked to drop the criminal charges.

“Tempers are rising, everyone has electionitis,” Kalyan told The Witness yesterday.

Waters said he would be willing to withdraw the charge should Landers apologise. Landers declined to comment.

Concerns have been raised recently about the deteriorating discipline among MPs.

Last month, Freedom Front Plus and DA MPs almost came to blows in Parliament after insults were hurled, while bemused ANC MPs looked on.

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