Parliamentarians get on each other's nerves

Tetchy & perhaps sleep-deprived MPs appear to be getting on each other’s nerves following a tense week.

FILE: Speaker Baleka Mbete sits next to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa after his question and answer session in Parliament on 19 November 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Irritation over chewing bubble gum in the National Assembly chamber and the cheeky use of the word "sinister" when referring to other Members of Parliament (MPs) were some of the theatrics marking a debate on Friday on gender-based violence.

MPs this morning debated the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign.

But tetchy and perhaps sleep-deprived MPs appear to be getting on each other's nerves following a week of tense relations between opposition and African National Congress (ANC) MPs.

The National Assembly entered into chambers last night and only emerged at 4am this morning.

A ruling was made that it's unparliamentary to chew bubble gum in the house.

This after ANC MP Mandla Mandela complained that an opposition MP was chewing "chappies".

The ANC also complained about an opposition member taking photographs in the house.

DA parliamentarian Jacques Julius used his time on the podium to take a swipe at Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu.

"This is the leadership that the sinister, oh sorry, minister has shown. Leadership where we have lost confidence, leadership that has shown 16 Days of Activism will be a talk shop with no impact on curbing gender violence."

Tempers flared and Shabangu could be seen mouthing the words "who are you".

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM

Some MPs kicked off their 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Woman and Children campaign by committing to eradicating the scourge facing them.

The pledge was signed by MPs including Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete and Shabangu.

A torch of peace was lit in Parliament by Mbete signalling the start of the campaign.

MPs also signed a pledge committing to help combat the ongoing violence facing women and children.

The seven point pledge commits MPs to doing everything in their power to uphold the Bill of Rights.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PROGRAMME EXTENDED

The ANC in Parliament says the National Assembly progamme will be extended to next week so that outstanding matters can be dealt with.

The house was supposed to rise yesterday, but political wrangling resulted in a six hour suspension of proceedings.

Opposition MPs objected when the ANC placed the Powers and Privileges Committee report into the conduct of Economic Freedom Fighters MPs back on the agenda.

During intense negotiations, political party whips then agreed the matter would stand over.

ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani made the announcement last night.