ANC MP Mervyn Dirks, who was thrown out of Parliament on Thursday for showing the middle finger to other MPs, allegedly called DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme a "straatmeid" -- a highly offensive racial slur used during apartheid to describe a black woman -- in Parliament earlier this year.
"This is Mervyn Dirks," van Damme said in a tweet posted on Thursday evening: "He called me a 'straatmeid', zap-signed members of the opposition & today assaulted, insulted & threatened his female colleagues. Real scum."
This is Mervyn Dirks. He called me a "straatmeid", zap-signed members of the opposition & today assaulted, insulted & threatened his female colleagues. Real scum. pic.twitter.com/FFObJNij0i— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) November 30, 2017
When Dirks was asked by the chairperson, Cedric Frolick, if he had flipped the bird in Parliament, 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 in response and was asked to leave the House for "unparliamentary behaviour".
He has also been accused of assaulting a female MP after the incident.
Dirks has had a controversial few years. He is one of the few MPs who boycotted an inquiry into allegations of impropriety held by former MP Dr Makhosi Khoza into former communications minister Faith Muthambi, and spoke out when ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu allowed a debate about state capture to continue at a public press event. He is also the former deputy mayor of Msunduzi municipality.
Twitter went wild with responses yesterday.
ANC MP Mervyn Dirks, who physically intimidated a female MP and then tried to defend himself, is an unrepentant pig of a man.— Michael Cardo (@michaelcardo) November 30, 2017
ANC MP Mervyn Dirks is from a different school of politics - and an urgent reminder that we should be critical of who we support to lead us. If they're trash, they're trash even to own colleagues— Menzi Kulati (@menzikulati) November 30, 2017
You mean this Mervyn Dirks? With the below-pass-rate attendance in Parliament? pic.twitter.com/8xJy5xh75S— Ad Homonym (@jean_leroux) November 30, 2017