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Sona debate descends into chaos over Malema, Ramaphosa abuse claims

EFF leader Julius Malema left the House with fellow EFF members after he failed to withdraw his accusation that President Cyril Ramaphosa had assaulted his late former wife and was ordered out of the House.

FILE: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema objects as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attempts to deliver his State of the Nation Address at Parliament in Cape Town on 13 February 2020. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Gender-based violence (GBV) became a political football in Parliament on Tuesday as allegations of domestic abuse directed at Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and President Cyril Ramaphosa sparked chaos.

Malema left the House with fellow EFF members after he failed to withdraw his accusation that Ramaphosa had assaulted his late former wife Nomazizi Mtshotshisa and was ordered out of the House.

'Are you abusing your wife?' Mamabolo asks Malema in Parly

Earlier, Malema was asked point-blank by the African National Congress (ANC)’s Boy Mamabolo whether the EFF leader was abusing his own wife – which Malema denied, before accusing Ramaphosa of the same offence.

Malema said he was suing Mamabolo for R1 million if he did not retract and apologise for alleging the EFF leader abused his wife – a claim he first aired in Parliament on Thursday but then repeated in a newspaper interview without the protection of parliamentary privilege.

WATCH: Malema leaves Parliament after heated debate

Parties’ debate on Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) descended into chaos, with EFF and ANC Members of Parliament (MPs) hurling insults and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo unable to restore order.

“Order members! Can I ask you, for the last time, honourable Malema, please withdraw the remark – and if you don’t want to withdraw the remark, I’m about to ask you to leave the House,” Masondo said.

Malema said in response: “Ah! You don’t want the truth!”

If the ANC thought challenging Malema on this was a worthy strategy, it seemed to have backfired – but the biggest losers might be the women who were routinely abused and murdered by intimate partners, and those who fight for this to end.

WATCH: ‘I’ve got the ruling party by the scrotum’ – Malema during Sona debate

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Commission for Gender Equality, Javu Baloyi, said he was disappointed by the way GBV was used as a political football in Parliament.

“GBV is a serious issue and needs to be taken seriously. [MPs] were not supportive and made light of the work that we are doing. Some members of the public idolise the MPs in Parliament and might start doing things that are wrong,” he said.

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