In an almost passing slight against a laughing President Cyril Ramaphosa following the latter’s budget vote speech in parliament, EFF leader Julius Malema asked him if there was trouble in the Ramaphosa household.
He wanted to know why Ramaphosa never seems to appear anywhere in public accompanied by his wife, Dr Tshepo Motsepe.
On Wednesday in parliament, Malema told him: “Mr President, you promised a comprehensive package for women and children. But we have not heard anything today about how you are going to empower women, particularly a girl child. Young girls are being killed in South Africa. Men have declared war against women, but the government does not have a clear strategy on how they are going to deal with that.
“Young women do not have sanitary towels. They want to be helped.
“Talking of this, Mr President, it reminds me of a question I have for you: Where is the First Lady? Because you never go anywhere with the First Lady. You never engage in any programme that seeks to give us a good image of a president with a family,” Malema said to cheers and laughter from his EFF MPs.
Ramaphosa could also be seen laughing.
“Some of these sanitary towel programmes should be taken up by our beautiful First Lady. We hope there is no crisis, Mr President.”
The president faced allegations of having numerous extramarital affairs during his campaign to become ANC leader last year. He only came clean about one past affair with a Limpopo doctor about nine years ago, which he said his wife found out about, but which did not end their marriage.
It emerged last year that the then Sunday Independent editor, Steven Motale, was in possession of numerous emails from Ramaphosa’s private email accounts possibly linking him to as many as eight different young women.
Ramaphosa filed an urgent application to stop Motale from publishing a story about it, though that was unsuccessful.
Ramaphosa later claimed it was all part of a smear campaign against him, which represented an escalation of an alleged dirty war, and that it was likely state agencies and resources were being abused to promote factional political agendas.
In a statement, his acting spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, appeared to verify that the emails were Ramaphosa’s “personal email correspondence” and that they had allegedly not been lawfully obtained.