Cape Town – The words “I will fuck you up” mouthed in the National Assembly on Tuesday threatened to derail the presidency’s budget vote speech, Netwerk24 reported.
Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina was allegedly seen mouthing the words to a DA MP.
An expressionless President Jacob Zuma watched from his bench as all hell broke loose, giggling occasionally.
Presiding officer Thoko Didiza said she would have the matter investigated before making a ruling.
DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen insisted on a ruling. He called Masina a "spineless coward" and his MPs said they were prepared to make sworn statements about his remark.
Masina denied making the threat.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Masina was "known to use vulgar language".
Deputy ANC Chief Whip Doris Dlakude called on Steenhuisen to withdraw the “spineless coward” remark, saying it was unparliamentary. He acknowledged he had said it and stood by it.
Somewhere from the opposition benches someone shouted that Steenhuisen was a real man and not a spineless coward.
IFP Chief Whip Narend Singh stressed the seriousness of the allegations and said they had to be investigated to protect the National Assembly’s decorum.
When Masina stood up to resume his speech, he attacked DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane.
“A spineless coward is someone who quotes president Mbeki and president Mandela, but is too scared to quote Helen Suzman, who belongs to them,” he said.
Earlier, a “joke” from Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor also threatened to derail the debate. She joked about an SMS that EFF leader Julius Malema had sent her, asking her to remind EFF MPs to hold their Marikana posters up high.
During the debate EFF MPs had held up posters with the words “#releasemarikanareport”.
Didiza reminded MPs to respect the debate.