Parliament to probe 'unbecoming and uncharacteristic' conduct of MPs after fracas

EFF and ANC members clashed during an induction session in parliament on Wednesday.
EFF and ANC members clashed during an induction session in parliament on Wednesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

Parliament is going to investigate the “unbecoming and uncharacteristic” conduct of MPs after they clashed during an induction session on Wednesday.

Video footage showed ANC and EFF members of parliament at each other's throats.

Parliament said in a statement on Wednesday evening, on behalf of National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise: “Modise has strongly denounced the conduct of a handful of MPs involved in the incident as unbecoming and uncharacteristic of honourable members of parliament.”

It added: “The speaker (Modise), who was in attendance but not chairing the session, took to the podium and appealed to Members (MPs) to adhere to the decorum and respect the authority of the chairperson of the session.”

Modise said different views are acceptable, but rebuked MPs for allowing “emotions to get the better” of them in “such fashion”.

The National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) hosts an week-long induction and orientation programme for MPs. It will finish on Thursday.

TimesLIVE reported earlier that Modise was forced to “physically” separate EFF and ANC MPs.

DA MP Annelie Lotriet, who was chairing the session, said Modise was forced to intervene as matters degenerated when EFF and ANC MPs threatened to attack each other during the induction session on law-making.

EFF MPs repeatedly told ANC MPs that “uyaphapha wena” (you’re just too forward) during turns to ask questions.

Lotriet said: “The first round of questions went well and in the second round a member of the EFF stood up and started with a speech instead of asking a question. As I could hear from the interpretation he was also insulting the ANC, so the ANC got quite upset. So I then intervened and asked the EFF member to please stop and refrain.”

She added: “An ANC member jumped up and also complained, and I said please give me the opportunity to deal with this, but then a member of the EFF switched the microphone on and did not give me the opportunity in any way to deal with the matter.

“She kept on talking and then it was a toing and froing between the EFF and the ANC. The member of the EFF started walking across the floor with other members of the EFF following her towards the ANC, and the ANC then started to retaliate.”

Lotriet said it was at that point that Modise was called in to diffuse the tension that lasted for around three minutes.

“The speaker then came in and had to physically intervene between the two groups. She gave them a dressing down, which was necessary and we then proceeded … all in all it was three to four minutes.” - Additional reporting by Thabo Mokone

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