Mbete saying she 'lost it' confirms EFF's views, says party

National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete. (David Harrison, M&G)

National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete. (David Harrison, M&G)

The Economic Freedom Fighters on Wednesday welcomed National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete saying she “lost it” during presidential question time on August 21.

“Baleka Mbete is on record admitting that she ‘lost it’ on that day, which confirms the EFF’s position all along about what happened,” spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement. “The EFF has constantly indicated that Baleka Mbete gets emotional, which clouds her judgement as a presiding officer who must rise above and allow robust debate.” 

On Tuesday, Mbete told the South African National Editors Forum and Parliament’s presiding officers in Johannesburg that she “lost it that day”. “However to reduce the cause of what went on that day to the speaker is to really get it wrong,” she said. In light of her admission, the EFF called on the powers and privileges committee to discontinue the disciplinary process and allow a review of parliamentary rules to restore the order to the House. 

On August 21, EFF leader Julius Malema objected to President Jacob Zuma’s reply to a question about when he was going to repay part of the R246-million spent on security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal. Mbete ordered EFF MPs out after they began to disrupt proceedings and started chanting “pay back the money”. 

The MPs refused to leave, continuing to chant and shout slogans, forcing Mbete to adjourn proceedings with the remainder of Zuma’s questions unanswered. On September 16, opposition leaders walked out of Parliament leaving the ANC to defeat a vote of no confidence in Mbete. 

On Tuesday, the EFF said it would go to court to challenge disciplinary charges against 20 MPs stemming from their heckling of Zuma. – Sapa

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