Parly chaos: Zulu explains actions, apologises

Minister Lindiwe Zulu had to be restrained after an altercation with EFF MP Godrich Gardee.

The ANC’s Lindiwe Zulu challenged the EFF’s Godrich Gardee to take the matter outside and then left Parliament on 13 November 2014. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Monday apologised for her conduct in Parliament.

This after she had to be restrained following an altercation on Wednesday with Economic Freedom Fighter Member of Parliament (MP) Godrich Gardee.

The incident took place during a tense Parliamentary session where the Nkandla ad-hoc committee's report was due to be debated.

The committee found that President Jacob Zuma was not responsible for overspending on upgrades to his KwaZulu-Natal home.

Zulu had to be restrained by fellow MPs as she stormed through the corridors, demanding that the matter be taken outside.

She was filmed trading angry exchanges with Gardee before being taken back to her seat by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

The minister says she reacted out of anger and believes her buttons were pushed by opposition MPs who hurled insults at National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

"My buttons were pushed by the insults, the denigration, the disorder that was happening, the disrespect for the rules of the house. But more than anything else, I think my buttons were pushed when a person like Baleka Mbete is insulted, humiliated and made to feel the way she was feeling on Thursday."

She says Gardee was the one who invited her outside.

"He said let's go outside. He is the one who invited me outside."

Zulu however says Gardee inviting her outside in the heat of the moment did not necessarily mean they were going to fight.

The minister was criticised by the EFF, which accused her of behaving inappropriately.

She has since apologised to those who were disappointed by her behaviour, adding that she acknowledges the need to check her temper.

"I sincerely apologise, it will not happen again. I will not allow a situation, when buttons are pressed that much, to go that route. I am very sure of that."

Meanwhile, the Presidency has announced that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet Parliamentary leaders of opposition parties in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Armed public order police had to be called into the chamber for the first time in the history of a democratic South Africa, when MPs became involved in a brawl.

The Presidency says 11 leaders have so far confirmed their attendance at what's being described as a regular meeting to "strengthen" the working relationship between parties.

The chaos that erupted last week is expected to lead the meeting.