Ramaphosa calls for Parliament to embody non-racialism after EFF attacks DA, Agang's Tlouamma

2018-11-06 18:48
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Elmond Jiyane, GCIS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Elmond Jiyane, GCIS)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa called on MP's to live up to the ideal of non-racialism after the EFF attacked other opposition MP's during Tuesday's sitting of the National Assembly.

Ramaphosa was answering a question by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, who sits near the podium and was heckling him. Ramaphosa expressed his concern about Steenhuisen's auditory and cognitive abilities.

"I think we have a problem with the honourable Steenhuisen," Ramaphosa said.

Steenhuisen rose for a point of order but got drowned out by EFF MPs. 

"Can the VBS looters give me a chance to speak?" Steenhuisen said. This served only to raise the volume of the EFF's howling.

"You're a racist white man accused of rape!" Malema bellowed.

DA MPs started chanting "Pay back the money!", and the EFF responded with "Racist!".

EFF MP Marshall Dlamini moved threateningly towards DA MP Annette Steyn, but EFF MP Fana Mokoena got between them as shouts and pointed fingers between DA and EFF MP's escalated.

After MPs took their seats, Steenhuisen tried to finish his point of order.

"We are not going to be intimidated by whites here!" Malema yelled. "You are not going to speak here!"

House chairperson Thoko Didiza, in an apparent attempt to restore order, did not allow Steenhuisen to finish his point of order and asked Ramaphosa to continue answering the question.

"I'm rather sad and taken aback… and almost handicapped by what happened here," Ramaphosa said.

Agang MP Andries Tlouamma then rose on a point of order. 

"We cannot allow for someone to say whites can't speak in this house," he said, drawing the EFF's ire onto him.

As he tried to finish his point of order, he was drowned out by the EFF's howls and started engaging some EFF MPs off-microphone, with ACDP MP Steve Swart trying to calm him down. 

Eventually, Tlouamma yelled "Fokof!" to the EFF.

EFF MP Nazier Paulsen, who boxes for sport, stormed at him, jumping over a bench. Swart tried to hold Tlouamma back.

Three more EFF MPs accosted Tlouamma as DA MP Terri Stander tried to pull Paulsen off Tlouamma. 

Didiza called the serjeant-at-arms, who arrived with the "chamber support services", also known as the "white shirts" or "bouncers", and ordered Tlouamma and Paulsen out of the house. She said she will report them to the speaker. She also called on the chief whips to ensure their members behaved themselves.

When things returned to a semblance of normalcy, UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa rose on a point of order, saying everyone must be allowed to have their say in the house. 

Didiza said she agreed with him. 

Steenhuisen then wanted it ruled out of order that Malema called him a racist and an "effing white boy".

"You called me names before!" Malema yelled.

Didiza allowed EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu to ask the next follow-up question to Ramaphosa.

Before he posed his question, Shivambu remarked that former Mozambican president Samora Machel had once said if one was applauded by white people, then something was wrong.

After the question was answered, Didiza said she would reflect on the events, as many rules had been broken, and would make a ruling on Wednesday.

Malema got up for a point of order.

"I've been called a VBS looter!" he growled. "I stood up to defend myself."

"I will never submit to whiteness!" 

"Whiteness must be called out. If there is punishment for it, I will take it!"

Ramaphosa then proceeded to answer a question about the emergence of ethnic chauvinism and narrow nationalism, which he said represents a direct challenge to the hopes of our people and the values of the Constitution.

"We need to respond to these tendencies as a society."

"We cannot go back to the horrible past we had. We cannot revert to raw racism and separatism. Let us live up to being one nation," he said.

"Let us live up to that as Parliament."

Read more on:    da  |  eff  |  cyril ramaphosa

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