Rebel MP of the ruling African National Congress, Mervyn Dirks, may face disciplinary proceedings after several of his colleagues from both his party and opposition parties reported him threatening a female colleague sitting near him and attempting to assault her.
A scuffle could be seen in the ANC back benches during the last National Assembly sitting of 2017, leading to opposition MPs calling for Dirks to be booted.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu confirmed that ANC MPs reported they were threatened during the scuffle.
“House chair, serious allegations have been made against a member of this House by members of this House and we have indeed escalated these allegations to the head of the House, the Speaker,” Mthembu said.
“Threats and gestures of assaults have been made against members at the back there. We have therefore asked those members to put in writing all those allegations so that we can indeed formally put them before the Speaker so that…disciplinary processes could be brought to bear…”
Opposition MPs said this was not enough as the incident happened in the House, insisting Dirks should be kicked out of the chamber.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula also weighed in.
“Chairperson, if there has been a threat made against a woman in this House right now and if there is evidence of that, I think you should make a ruling or at least make an undertaking to investigate the matter,” she said.
“It is 16 days of activism, we cannot have a man who is going to threaten women in this chamber…”
House chairman Cedric Frolick said he could not act, as he did not see the altercation, which Dirks denied, saying: “The allegation made by the racist [Democratic Alliance] DA and the cronies of the DA….it is not correct. I have never been involved in any altercation with any member.
But, Dirks continued baiting opposition MPs who later reported he had showed them the middle finger.
When questioned by Frolick, Dirks said: “Those neo-liberals are getting mad in the head….Why should I show the middle finger?”
While denying the allegation, his middle finger was again on display, prompting Frolick to heed requests for his removal from the House.
“There you have just done it now. Honourable member, will you leave the House please.”
– African News Agency (ANA)