Parliamentary mudslinging between Ramaphosa, DA

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Cape Town – A question-and-answer session on Wednesday during a sitting of the National Assembly about labour stability turned into a mudslinging exercise between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance.

Responding to a question from the African National Congress, Ramaphosa said “much progress has been made” in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) forums with labour stability, as well as ways of ending the violent nature and duration of strikes. 

DA spokesperson on labour Ian Ollis asked Ramaphosa in a follow-up question why he is only mediating on the issue of labour stability, when he has kept watch over violent and fatal strike action since 1987 through to the Marikana killings in 2012. “Where were you when people were killed in these strike actions?” Ollis asked.

“The only conclusion we can come to is you’re acting now because you want to become president of this country,” he added.

Ramaphosa responded, saying he “failed to see what the question is”. He then put it to Ollis that he wanted to ask him some “interesting questions”, “Such as what did he do when the apartheid government was slaughtering our people?

“Being white means he voted and supported the apartheid regime,” Ramaphosa said.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen objected, saying racial profiling was not allowed. Both Ollis and Ramaphosa were asked to withdraw their statements.

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