#SonaDebate: Joemat-Pettersson delivers blows to opposition parties

She says the African National Congress will be around long after Julius Malema is gone.

FILE: Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson delivered a spirited response to opposition Members of Parliament's (MPs) attacks on President Jacob Zuma.

Yesterday, MPs launched a blistering attack on the president.

They accused him of being out of touch with reality, and they drew on the various scandals marring his terms in office to trash his leadership.

Joemat-Pettersson says South Africa is making strides in the renewable energy space.

"The economic policy which you developed under the president is succeeding in renewable energy space."

She also made out an argument for a nuclear build programme.

"Now for this, you have all come to listen to what I have to say, we have to do nuclear because we do not have sufficient free water."

Joemat-Pettersson then laid into the opposition.

She wrapped up by saying, the African National Congress will be around long after Julius Malema is gone.

A short while ago, Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen was ordered to leave the National Assembly after refusing to withdraw his statement that the presiding officer was "talking rubbish".

Steenhuisen took issue with the National Council of Provinces Deputy Chair Raseriti Tau after he called Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota to order.

Opposition MPs vehemently objected to the ruling, claiming it interfered with MPs' freedom of speech.

Steenhuisen refused to withdraw.

Tau insisted, "Honourable Steenhuisen, I'm asking you again, can you withdraw the word 'rubbish'."

Steenhuisen replied, "House chair, I will not withdraw 'rubbish' because you are talking rubbish."

Tau then said, "You leave me no option then but to order you to leave the house."

DA leader Mmusi Maimane then suggested Tau himself should leave the house.

There was uproar when Tau then ordered the DA MPs to leave because they were "disruptive".

Tempers cooled, but only somewhat, after an official pointed out to Tau that the rules did not allow him to expel an entire caucus without naming individual MPs.

Earlier Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel hit back at opposition MPs for trading in doom and gloom over the state of the economy.

Patel accused the DA and EFF of schoolboy debating tactics, like inventing imaginary prophets.

"They make good prophets of doom and gloom at a time when we need collective leadership and a closing of ranks as south africans."

Patel fleshed out government's plans to kickstart the economy and create jobs, including fast-tracking 20 massive infrastructure projects

The DA's David Maynier lamented the lack of new ideas.

"Yes, there was a turnaround plan but the turnaround plan did not contain any new economic policy - what the turnaround plan did contain was economic policy that had never been implemented."

Patel acknowledged big headwinds facing South Africa, including the drought, global economic woes and lower prices for commodities, but he insisted it wasn't all doom and gloom.