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#SonaDebate: DA's Chief Whip apologises for harsh remarks

John Steenhuisen was ordered to leave the chamber during the second day of #SonaDebate.

DA’s Chief Whip asked to leaves Parliament after clashing with Chair Raseriti Tau.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen has hastily apologised for remarks he made in Parliament during a day of drama and vitriolic attacks from both sides of the house.

Steenhuisen was ordered to leave the chamber during the second day of debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona) yesterday after he challenged NCOP deputy chairperson Raseriti Tau.

He laid into Tau after he ruled Members of Parliament (MPs) could not be described as being part of factions.

Steenhuisen initially refused to withdraw his comment that Tau was talking rubbish by disallowing the use of the word faction.

But he was quick to smooth things over with Parliament's presiding officers by writing a letter of apology.

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli later told the house his apology has been accepted.

"The member who has been ordered to withdraw from the chamber may submit to the Speaker or chairperson of the council, a written expression of regret."

MPs have also been warned against launching personal unsubstantiated attacks, similar to the claims Malema made in his speech on day one of the debate.