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MPs air their dirty laundry

MEMBERS of parliament traded jabs during the state of the nation address debate yesterday, with Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bheki Cele hitting DA deputy chief whip John Steenhuisen below the belt.

ANC MP Thandi Mahambehlala also took exception when EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu mispronounced her surname and by so doing effectively labelled her a loose woman.

Cele told the joint sitting of parliament's two Houses that he hoped one day Steenhuisen would be brave enough to disclose to the institution why he had left the KwaZulu-Natal legislature to move to Cape Town where he took up the job of a DA MP.

Cele was referring to a love affair Steenhuisen had had with a married party official in 2010 when he served in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

"It would be more honourable to tell this House what happened to the wife of your colleague," he said.

Steenhuisen did not rise to object or dispute Cele's jibe and only joined DA MPs in heckling him. Steenhuisen and the implicated woman, Terry Kass, married in December.

Shivambu had social media abuzz after pronouncing the surname of Mahambehlala as "mahambelahla" which is township slang for a woman with low morals.

The ANC MP was not impressed and asked National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise to order Shivambu to withdraw the "insult."

"Chairperson . I'm honourable Mahambehlala. I'm not honourable Mahambelahla. It's an insult. He must rectify that thing, honourable Shivambu Louis Vuitton," she said, referring to the EFF chief whip who is known for his admiration of the luxury clothing brand.

Shivambu, with a naughty smile, said: "Oh, yes, I had made a mistake honourable chair."

Earlier, Steenhuisen complained about MPs being "screened for the first time ever" before they entered the house by the police VIP protection unit deployed to guard ministers.

He argued that this violated lawmakers' privilege of "unfettered access" to the National Assembly chamber and demanded that Modise probe the matter.


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