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Sisulu slams disrespectful MPs

ANC MP John Jeffery made a reference to DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko’s weight.

National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu on Tuesday told Members of Parliament (MPs) democracy and freedom of speech are not about aggressive confrontation, but rather about tolerance and respect.

Sisulu read out what he called a necessary statement after an ANC MP made a reference to Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko's weight last week.

During President Jacob Zuma's budget vote debate last week, ANC MP John Jeffery said "While the honourable Mazibuko may be a person of substantial weight, her stature is questionable".

Mazibuko hit back calling his remarks sexist.

At the same time, ANC MP Buti Manamela mocked Mazibuko's casual dress style in Parliament.

Sisulu said he and the other presiding officers were extremely concerned about the tone of debate in the house.

The speaker believes the attacks were uncalled for.

Sisulu reiterated the importance of freedom of speech and said it must be cherished at all times.

He added freedom of speech did not mean overstepping the mark.