An ANC MP was accused of threatening women with violence in the National Assembly on Thursday and was asked to leave the house after showing the middle finger to opposition MPs, News24 reported.
During the debate on state capture, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen reportedly rose on a point of order and said that he had seen the MP, Mervyn Dirks, try to hit one of the female MPs.
Steenhuisen said, "For the safety of the members there and for the decorum of the House, I really think he should be removed from the House in terms of rule 70 so that we can continue the business."
Apparently Dirks insulted his colleague, but didn't physically assault her. However, on the other side of the house, there are MP's who say they saw the alleged incident.— Abra Barbier (@BarbierAbra) November 30, 2017
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu reportedly said that the allegations had been reported to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete.
"Among those allegations are that serious insults have been thrown at our female members at the back there. Secondly, gestures and threats of assault have been made against members at the back there," he reportedly said.
Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula chimed in, saying, "we cannot have a man threaten women in this chamber, let alone strangle them, sorry, chair."
Mapisa-Nqakula says threats, strangulation and attempt to assault a woman cannot be tolerated, especially in these 16 days of activism.— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) November 30, 2017
Frolick says he didn't see anything, but noticed that there was a commotion at the back.
Later, Dirks was accused of showing the middle finger.
Dirks denied it, saying, "Those neoliberals [the DA] are getting mad in the head."
Dirks refuses to answer a direct question as to whether he's been showing the middle finger to the opposition. He says the neoliberals are mad in the head. After toing and froing, he shows the middle finger while talking to Frolick. [I think to Frolick]— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) November 30, 2017
When he was asked by the chairperson, Cedric Frolick, if this was true, he reportedly said, "Why should I show a middle finger to liberals? I would never show a middle finger to a liberal... What [sic] should I show a middle finger to them? They're racist."
He then showed the middle finger and was asked to leave the house.
ANC MP Mervyn Dirks has been thrown out of the House for raising the middle finger and NOT for the assault or alleged assault of a woman. #Parliament— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) November 30, 2017
The ANC's Dirks ejected from the House. No not because he assaulted a fellow MP, but because he threw up a middle finger. What a Dirk! pic.twitter.com/leyEMCXxnX— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) November 30, 2017
According to Times Live, Frolick and Mbete would start dealing with the matter at the end of the session on Thursday night, which was the last day of parliamentary sittings for the year.
Frolick said: "We rely on the integrity and honesty of members of the house... it is quite serious if you are given an opportunity to give your side of the story and the information that [later] comes out is different. I don't want to conduct a DC from where I'm sitting... I am going to request that immediately after this sitting the honourable speaker deals with the matter."
Cope MP Deidre Carter reportedly said Dirks was under the influence of alcohol.