FOR a while it seemed peace had returned to parliament after the EFF’s noisy exit from the state of the nation address.
Debate began quietly yesterday as Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel listed government’s achievements.
He said: “We are not a people who curse against the dark. We roll up our sleeves and go to work. We did well to create 712 000 jobs in a tough year.”
But ANC members began heckling Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota during his speech.
They shrugged off National Council of Provinces deputy chairman Raseriti Tau’s efforts to stop their shouting.
Then DA chief whip John Steenhuisen asked Tau to protect Lekota. Soon there was a hot row, with Steenhuisen telling Tau he was talking rubbish and refusing to withdraw the remark. Tau asked Steenhuisen to leave the House. Rising to his feet, the MP said: “I am happy to leave because it will save me from listening to your rubbish.”
DA members stood clapping as Steenhuisen left, and Tau threatened to throw them all out. Tau said later he took exception to Steenhuisen saying he was talking rubbish.
President Jacob Zuma smiled as Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson praised him.
When Zuma responds to the debate today he is expected to bounce back from his battering by the opposition.