MPs clash over Mbete

MPs clashed as a motion of no-confidence in National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, was thrown out.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament clashed as a motion of no-confidence in National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, was thrashed out.

A grouping of opposition parties tabled the motion last week as they believe Mbete is biased as she also holds the position of the African National Congress (ANC)'s national chairperson.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Congress of the People, United Democratic Movement and the Freedom Front Plus are backing a motion of no-confidence in a bid to unseat Mbete, who they claim cannot act impartiality while also serving as ANC chairperson.

Her fellow ANC MPs came to her defence amid tense exchanges in the National Assembly.

However, the motion was rejected, causing uproar in the house.

DA Parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, explained why Mbete has to be removed.

" She can't serve as leader of the ANC and a neutral speaker in this house, the conflict of interest is untenable."

He also told the National Assembly that Mbete is placing the ANC before South Africa.

He said the speaker has sold out Parliament to her masters in Luthuli House and warned against South Africa becoming another Lesotho.

Maimane said Mbete is merely helping President Jacob Zuma cover up for the spending on upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

"Mbete has been deployed to make sure Zuma doesn't have to answer tough questions in this Parliament."

On Monday, Maimane said he believes a secret ballot would prove she is the wrong person for the job.

The ANC's Bertha Mabe launched a verbal attack on Maimane.

"Honourable Maimane must always remember as he tries so hard to justify his existence and acceptance in a white male dominated party by undermining the good that the ANC has done for him."

It was then EFF leader, Julius Malema's turn to lash out at the National Speaker, but he was crudely interrupted.

"Has she lost her mind? Is she sick? This is not a mental hospital. This is National Assembly?"

This was amid calls from ANC MPs calling Malema to sit down, but the controversial EFF leader continued unabated to attack ANC speakers.

OPPOSITION ACCUSED OF SEXIST REMARKS

Opposition parties have also been accused of being sexist for tabling the motion.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane led the ANC's attack.

"We are here today, amongst others, to reassert and defend the hard won struggle for the emancipation of women and the right of the majority not to be undermined by a minority."

EFF Member of Parliament Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala reiterated her party's call for a retired judge to be speaker, saying they'd be beyond influence.