DA chief whip John Steenhuisen walked out of the National Assembly in protest as he refused to apologise to the presiding officer for calling his rulings “rubbish”.
This was after Steenhuisen came to the defence of Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosioua Lekota who said there were factions that were pro the presiding officers and others that favoured the ANC thinking.
Steenhuisen left the House voluntarily after refusing to retract having said that presideing officer Raseriti Tau was talking rubbish.
“You are talking complete rubbish and you are making this house a joke… how dare you infringe on his [Lekota’s] right of speech.
“I will happily leave this house to save me from hearing any more of this rubbish,” said Steenhuisen to loud applause from fellow DA members.
Meanwhile Cope continued where it left off during the State of the Nation Address (Sona), during Wednesday’s debate.
According to Lekota, South Africa finds itself in in a deep constitutional and economic crisis.
However, Lekota was interrupted by ANC MPs.
“Honourable chair I cannot continue with talking while I’m being disrupted.”
Lekota came under attack for using the word “factions”, which he said existed within the ANC.
DA MPs were then ordered to leave the house by the Deputy NCOP chairperson, but Maimane would have none of that.
n an attempt to solidify authority, Tau asked all DA members to leave. They refused and asked that Tau convene a special sitting of the chief whips forum outside the House.
“No we will not leave the house,” Maimane said.
A proposal was made that party whips to meet over the matter.
Tau then said:
“Honourable Steenhuisen rose on a point of order and said I was talking rubbish.
“I requested the honourable member to withdraw the word, but he refused and I ordered him to leave the house.”
DA MP, Willmot James said Tau must withdraw the ruling that the words “factions” and “rubbish” are unpaliamentary, but Tau took strong exception to the word rubbish, saying he will never withdraw.
When Lekota eventually continued with his speech, he said:
“This legislature is held to ransom by presiding officers who believe their function is to shield the President.
“All of use are expected to hold executive to account and not to protect it…all of us, the ruling party and the opposition,” Lekota said before he was told his time is up.