EFF leader Julius Malema called Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu a “street girl” on Friday after she was physically restrained during a verbal altercation with one of his party’s MPs.
“She’s got no morals and does not qualify to be a minister taken seriously.”
Tension rose when Zulu and Economic Freedom Fighters MP Godrich Gardee started sparring verbally off microphone inside the National Assembly Chamber on Thursday.
Zulu signalled to Gardee that they take the matter outside the Chamber.
Zulu stormed into the hallway and headed to the doors leading to the side of the House where opposition party members are seated.
Gardee did not emerge from the Chamber, but police officers and members of Parliament’s protection services stood alert.
African National Congress MPs held Zulu back as she shouted: “Where is he?” in her mother tongue.
She was eventually escorted away, and police officers warned those in the hallway to remain calm.
The incident happened during a chaotic sitting of the National Assembly.
Malema said he could not believe an “honourable…, worse, a minister” behaved in that way.
“Those are the things you get in squatter camps and townships and villages where women go to the streets, then they start folding their dresses [saying] ‘come, come I’m waiting for you’.
“How do you take such a thing seriously?”
He said EFF members would never behave in that way.
Tempers flared in the House on Thursday when African National Congress MPs objected to motions the opposition tried to bring to delay the tabling of a report on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s homestead at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Democratic Alliance and EFF tabled motion after motion, with most questions relating to the Nkandla issue or to the president.
Veteran ANC MP Mathole Motshekga, who was pivotal in the ad hoc committee that drafted the report absolving Zuma from responsibility for the alleged abuse of funds at Nkandla, said the opposition was exaggerating Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s finding that he repay a portion not related to security upgrades.
Members of the police public order policing unit entered the National Assembly Chamber during proceedings, and a scuffle ensued.
This was after EFF MP Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela refused to leave the podium when she was ordered to do so by acting Speaker Cedric Frolick.
Mashabela had called Zuma a “thief” during a debate on the Grand Inga Hydro Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo and refused to withdraw her remarks.
Mashabela would not be moved when Sergeant-at-Arms Regina Mohlomi tried to escort her from the podium.
Police arrived minutes later and tugged at Mashabela, who could be heard shouting: “I don’t want to be touched”.
MPs from opposition benches expressed outrage and jumped to Mashabela’s defence.
Malema said on Friday that the EFF would make sure Zuma stepped down as president.
“Enough is enough. Why should we be terrorised by an individual from Nkandla.
“When is Zuma coming to answer the questions. Nothing is happening. What must we do?”
He said the next step was to protest inside and outside Parliament.
“We going to rally our people to come and march [for]… the stepping down of Jacob Zuma. We don’t care how many are we. Let the masses come out.”
Malema said dates for this mass action would be announced next year after the EFF’s national people’s assembly, which is expected to be held in December.
“It must not end in Parliament alone. Let the masses speak for themselves.”