Mabuza fitness 'debate' erupts into chaos at legislature

2015-11-11 12:30
David Mabuza (GCIS)

David Mabuza (GCIS)

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Mbombela - Proceedings came to a standstill in the Mpumalanga legislature when African National Congress and Economic Freedom Fighters politicians slugged it out over an order paper that excluded a debate on Premier David Mabuza's fitness to hold office.

During the sitting in Mbombela on Tuesday afternoon, EFF provincial leader Collen Sedibe accused legislature Speaker Thandi Shongwe and ANC Chief Whip Musa Mkhatshwa of unprofessional conduct and trying to shield Mabuza from embarrassment.

"Why did you not include the debate about the premier's inability to perform his duties because we agreed that we will debate the matter in the next sitting. Do you know what next sitting means?" Sedibe asked.

"The ANC chief whip's office sat down and decided to exclude the debate. We know, speaker, you are being told what to do by the ANC members there."

‘I’m scared’

Acting Premier Vusi Shongwe told the sitting that anyone with a problem with the order paper should have consulted the speaker's office in time.

This did not sit well with EFF Chief Whip Alfred Skhosana, who spoke without being recognised by the speaker, prompting her to threaten to have him removed from the chamber.

"Honourable Skhosana, we cannot conduct the house in this manner. I will have to call the sergeant-at-arms. I am now scared because of the way you are talking and pointing fingers at me. As a widow it is scary to see a man pointing a finger at me. I'm scared. I won't even be able to greet you outside," she said.

Skhosana said the order paper included a matter that was debated nine months ago.

"Why are you so hell-bent on preventing the debate? Why did you bring this old thing here?" said Skhosana, shaking the order paper in his hands.

The tension built as Sedibe labelled Mkhatshwa "a small boy".

"I asked to have the debate at the next sitting and you agreed," Sedibe told the speaker.

Whips to meet with caucuses

However, she denied agreeing that the debate would be held in the next sitting. She said she only agreed that the debate would be held.

"I said the motion should be rephrased well and... debated. These matters on today's order paper are from you [the EFF], so debate them," she said.

The sitting went into a 10-minute recess to allow chief whips to discuss the matter with their caucuses.

It was later agreed that the chief whips forum would hold a meeting with the speaker to discuss the issues that arose during the sitting.

The meeting will be held next week Tuesday, the same day as Premier Mabuza is expected to return to work - more than 50 days after going on sick leave.

Read more on:    david mabuza  |  mbombela  |  politics

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