Both ANC and opposition MPs happily drew on fantasy and storytelling to insult one another in the first day of the State of the Nation debate.
In a five-hour State of the Nation address debate on Tuesday, members of Parliament sang nursery rhymes, and flung accusations and insults.
The DA accused the ruling party of bringing their B team to the debate, while the ANC accused it of fielding their chief clown, chief Whip John Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen, who was one of the last speakers, speculated that the ANC had played a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who would be speaking in the House to defend President Jacob Zuma.
He sang “the wheels of the bus go round and round” when he accused ANC MPs of standing up for a president who had thrown them under the bus. They had defended Zuma’s decision not to pay for some of the upgrades to his Nkandla home and then, last week, he told the Constitutional Court he was willing to pay.
“Now I understand why they built the buses that are too big for the BRT lanes in Nelson Mandela Bay. This is to ensure that Zuma had something big enough to throw people under,” he said.
Speaker after him, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu called Steenhuisen the DA’s chief clown. She said the DA was filled with weak minds, who had created a “Planet Zuma”.
She was referring to leader Mmusi Maimane’s speech. Citing the Star Wars prologue, he said Zuma lived on “Planet Zuma”, a place in a parallel universe, in a galaxy far, far away, from the lives of ordinary South Africans.
Sisulu brought out another nursery rhyme to get her point across.
“They can huff, puff, but they cannot bring this house down.”
She called on Maimane to deal with racism within the DA and told him the party would not make inroads into black areas in this year’s local government elections.
She lamented the “disgraceful display” during Zuma’s speech on Thursday, and said the institution should not be competing with singing competition Idols. Cope and EFF MPs interrupted the speech several times and walked out after criticising Zuma.
During the debate, the ANC accused EFF leader Julius Malema of being a Judas, while Malema said Zuma was an illegitimate president.
Opposition parties implored Zuma to step down due to what they said was his poor decision-making and messy personal life, which embarrassed the country.
Malema said three things summed up Zuma’s tenure – the Guptas, Nkandla, and his song Mshiniwami (bring me my machine gun).
“You are not a legitimate president, bye-bye,” he told Zuma before leaving the podium and walking out with his MPs. – News24