Parliament’s Sleeping Beauty – hard at work on taxpayer time

Sometimes the television camera catches you at the least opportune moment. Like happened to this Sleeping Beauty who was so bored by the Jacob Zuma impeachment debate that she decided to catch 40 winks. – Alec Hogg

Can you name Parliament's Sleeping Beauty - hard at work on taxpayer time? Pic: Carol Minshall
Can you name Parliament’s Sleeping Beauty – hard at work on taxpayer time? Pic: Carol Minshall

By Jenna Etheridge, News24

Cape Town – Members of Parliament were on top form on Tuesday during a debate tabled by the Democratic Alliance to have President Jacob Zuma removed from office. We look at the moments when they took name-calling, theatrics and bad behaviour to a new level.

1) ‘Bloody voting cattles’

We’ve heard a lot about Number One’s revamped cattle kraal. But EFF leader Julius Malema decided to bring it closer to home for the ANC caucus. Wagging his finger, he said: “That is what you did, voting for wrong things the previous time. You keep on voting for wrong things. Voting cattles!”

Then he pointed at the ANC: “You voted for the Nkandla report here. It was wrong by court. Stop the voting thing.” Then he tapped his temple: “Listen to superior logic. Every time you can’t argue: ‘let’s vote, let’s vote’.” For good measure, he threw in: “Bloody voting cattles.”

2) Dropping the ‘We’ll take you to court’ bomb

It seemed rather unlike Malema to address Speaker Baleka Mbete without his booming voice. Seemingly contrite, he called her “honorable speaker” and calmly said it was a conflict of interest for her to keep presiding.

In true form, he then dropped a bomb by saying he would take her to court. Jeers, calls of encouragement and amused smiles followed from MPs. “I can guarantee, you are going to lose and you are going to lose with costs and you are costing this Parliament a lot of money with that type of an attitude… So in summary Speaker, you shall receive court papers. Thank you.”

3) Dlamini chewing at the bit over skeletons

Referring to the “cancer” of corruption, DA leader Mmusi Maimane did not hesitate to refer to Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s recent “smallanyana skeletons” comment. A journalist heard Dlamini shouting back, “You also have skeletons!” His speech failed to rouse the ruling party and some MPs seemed more interested in their electronic devices. Dlamini was “chomping at the bit”. When the camera panned to her, she could be seen chewing on some snack and looking down at her screen, seemingly unmoved.

4) Is that even a job title?

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery argued that the Constitutional Court never said that Zuma seriously violated the Constitution. This led to opposition MPs shouting out their suggestion for his job title: “Deputy minister of Injustice.”

5) Who is Ma-beki?

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder repeatedly referred to former president Thabo Mbeki as Mabeki. It was soon trending on Twitter. Users wondered whether this was a president they had never heard about. @GugsM tweeted: “In 2016, in the year of our father in Qunu, we are still hearing MABEKI?!”

6) Schoolboy jokes

An MP interrupted DA MP James Selfe’s speech to ask: “Can he be able to take a selfie there?” Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said: “A what?!” The MP repeated his remark. Thankfully, Tsenoli didn’t slip up and called on “honourable Selfe” to carry on. He also warned the House not to repeat the behaviour because they knew it was wrong.

7) Holy house

At times the House sounded more like a place of religion than of politics. ANC MP Pule Mabe kicked off his speech by using a Bible verse to shame the DA for bringing the motion. “Your leader is a pastor. He knows the Bible better.” The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked the deputy speaker whether it was parliamentary to start relying on the holy book when someone had become politically bankrupt. Tsenoli said he was out of order. Mabe put it on record that he prayed together with Ndlozi over Easter. Agang MP Andries Tlouamma was also spirited. He said Zuma was the country’s “Nebuchadnezzar” and had brought only “Sodom and Gomorrah”.

8) ‘We pay you. Don’t sleep here!’

Ndlozi called out International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane for apparently sleeping. He expressed concern that she may fall over. “We pay you. Don’t sleep here,” he implored. The camera never focused on her, but Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom apparently had to wake her up. – News24


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