Mbete: I lost it that day

The EFF brought President Jacob Zuma’s Parliamentary question time to a rowdy halt on 21 August.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete has admitted that she "lost it" when Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) disrupted a Parliamentary session last month.

The red berets brought President Jacob Zuma's Parliamentary question time to a rowdy halt on 21 August.

Mbete had to adjourn the sitting of the House when EFF MPs refused to sit down, after EFF leader Julius Malema asked Zuma when he would pay back the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla homestead.

She said although she feels she overreacted, the entire ordeal should not have been reduced to how she handled things.

"I'll tell you about the 21st of August - I lost it that day. However, to reduce the cause of what went on that day to the speaker is to really get it wrong."

The chanting was a reference to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on the R246 million spent on upgrades to Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonsela's report said Zuma had "benefitted unduly" from some of the upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.