Post-Parly brawl Minister Zulu: 'To those disappointed with me, I apologise'
The scenes from last Thursday's Parliamentary session have left a bad taste in the mouths of many South Africans.
What started as an exchange between EFF Member of Parliament Godrich Gardee and Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu almost turned into a call for a full out 'barney', where the two MPs called each other out to 'take things outside'.
What led things to escalate to this level in the National Assembly and who should be held responsible?
Redi Tlhabi had an encounter with Minister Zulu on what it is that made her 'lose it':
We’re all human beings and people who don’t have emotions are dead – I am not dead, I am alive and I do have emotions like everybody else. However, at the end of the day, the responsibility that I have at this moment, both as a representative of the ANC in Parliament but also on my part, I do need to check my anger and being annoyed in situations; I have to be an exemplary person. But at the end of the day, I must say that when buttons are pushed too far and too hard, it’s only just natural that one might react in the manner in which I reacted.
So, who started it? Zulu responds:
He (EFF Member of Parliament, Godrich Gardee) said ‘let’s go outside’, he is the one that invited me outside. It wasn’t going to end up that way (with fully-fledged fight), one thing I know for sure – I’ve never done that. I’ve done that at the right time, for the right reasons. It’s just a pity that he stayed inside the House because believe me, we’ve known each other from a long time ago, by the way.
Seeing that a member of cabinet has participated in inciting violence, what impression does Zulu think this leaves citizens and members of the National Assembly alike?:
I will check myself at all times, this is a very good lesson for me to learn - that I'm very clear about. Those that are disappointed with me, I sincerely apologise, it will not happen again, I will not allow a situation when the buttons are pressed that much to go that route. It only just means that when insults are being traded, one needs to stick to the rules of the House and not respond to insults.
Initially, what ascended to a near-brawl in Parliament stemmed from a stalling of a sitting on the findings by the now opposition-free Nkandla ad hoc committee. Opposition parties were essentially implementing was is known as a filibuster - the delaying of a vote to take place in an institution such as the National Assembly. Zulu maintains that the ANC has never said President Zuma shouldn't be made to account for over R 250 million worth of renovations to his Nkandla homestead:
The African National Congress has never said that if there are things that the President needs to respond to and account for, he doesn't have to. I don't know where this mistake is coming from, where people think that we think that there must be no accountability - there has to be accountability. With Nkandla, the people who were the ones who were buying - and inflating all the prices of the things that they were supposed to do - those people must be accountable too. It is unfortunate that by the time he was also asking for those answers, the situation had gone very far.
Listen to the full conversation below: