01/12/2017 12:56 SAST | Updated 01/12/2017 15:20 SAST

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks Must Face Discipline For 'Despicable' Behaviour -- ANC

The governing party and Parliament agree Dirks' behaviour was unacceptable.

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ANC MP Mervyn Dirks' behaviour in Parliament was "despicable" and disciplinary action will be taken against him, the office of the ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said on Friday.

"The Chief Whip has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting an investigation into this incident. If found to be true, these actions cannot go unpunished," Mthembu's office said in a statement.

Dirks was thrown out of Parliament on Thursday for showing the middle finger to other MPs. Earlier this year, he allegedly called DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme a "straatm**d". This is a highly offensive racial slur used during apartheid to describe a black woman.

"It is very regrettable that while observing 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse, a male member of Parliament would threaten to assault a female member in Parliament," the statement said.

"Members of Parliament ought to be the custodians of our Constitution and this democracy. It is therefore unacceptable that a member of Parliament can be found to be involved in such unbecoming behaviour... The behaviour of Mervyn Dirks was despicable and not in keeping with the image of Parliament."

Mthembu's office has written to the ANC secretary-general to institute disciplinary action against Dirks.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, would be seeking a "suitable" course of action against Dirks, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

"The alleged threatening gestures fly in the face of the 16 Days of Activism during which society is raising awareness about violence against women and children and calling on men, particularly, to challenge behaviour and norms that condone violence," Mothapo said in a statement.

"The Speaker is in the process of determining a suitable course of action. This could include referring the matter to an appropriate committee of Parliament for further investigation and decision."