Shortly after Cyril Ramaphosa was elected unopposed as president of the republic, opposition party leaders in the National Assembly were given the opportunity to respond.
EFF leader Julius Malema rose after DA leader Mmusi Maimane concluded and began by congratulating Thandi Modise for her election as speaker.
He said she was a “militant and uncompromising woman who led from the front when it was not fashionable to do so”.
Malema commended the ANC for deploying someone who was a “trusted force of our people”.
“We hope we work together, Me Thandi. There will be heated moments; robust debate. You should never degenerate and be partisan when the House degenerates. You should remain a speaker and be a speaker of all of us, because if you degenerate we will never get this house in order.
He urged her to “preside over all of us … we are all your children and you must not discriminate. Treat us equally with respect; we will return the favour. Once we feel targeted and neglected and rejected, we shall show you the other side of us.
“So if we all treat each other with respect, you have nothing to worry about. We grew under your leadership, and we know when we see you we see Winnie Mandela in action; and we are happy you were not part of the people who once disowned Winnie Mandela; you stood with her when it was not fashionable to do so. That’s why you are a dependable force of our people.”
He also congratulated deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli and said he hoped they would work well together despite “the difficulty you had with 25 [EFF MPs]. I don’t know how you will manage with 44.”
Malema then turned to addressing President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This is a developing story.