POLITICS
09/05/2018 10:12 SAST | Updated 09/05/2018 10:12 SAST

Ramaphosa Says He Will Defend Maimane Against His Own Party

The ANC will be the first to defend DA leader Mmusi Maimane from people in his own party who deny racial inequality, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

The ANC will be the first to defend DA leader Mmusi Maimane from people in his own party who deny racial inequality, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

While answering questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Ramaphosa commended Maimane for the stance he took on racial inequality during his speech on Freedom Day.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen applauded meekly but his deputy, Mike Waters, didn't show any response.

On Sunday City Press reported that at the DA's caucus meeting on Thursday, Waters, Steenhuisen and DA MP Natasha Mazzone allegedly took Maimane on about his comments about white privilege.

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Ramaphosa said "we were alarmed" about this.

"We will be the first to defend Mmusi Maimane against those in his own party who deny racial inequality," Ramaphosa said.

Maimane frowned. He shook his head smilingly when Ramaphosa referred to his "Mini-Mandela" comment.

When Ramaphosa was done, Steenhuisen said: "If anyone should know you shouldn't believe everything you read in the Sunday papers, it is you."

Steenhuisen was apparently referring to an article that appeared in the Sunday Independent last year, in which it was reported that Ramaphosa had several extramarital relationships with young women. This article appeared in the run-up to the ANC's national elective congress at Nasrec, Johannesburg in December.

Later in the question session, Ramaphosa snapped a sharp "shut up" at Steenhuisen, who heckled him incessantly.

Hannah Mckay / Reuters

Steenhuisen responded that Ramaphosa should remain calm. "This isn't the NEC. This is Parliament," Steenhuisen said.

House chairperson Cedric Frolick ordered that Ramaphosa withdraw it, which he did. Steenhuisen could be heard telling Ramaphosa, while the microphone was off, to toughen up.

Earlier, Ramaphosa asked Maimane if he was still the DA leader, to much amusement from the ANC benches.

Ramaphosa also ignited the ire of the EFF when he said that they expropriated the resolution the ANC had taken at its conference, to examine amending the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation, when they brought a motion to that effect to the House.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

EFF MP Sam Matiase said Ramaphosa deliberately misled the House, as expropriation without compensation had been EFF policy since the party's inception.

Frolick asked him to withdraw that Ramaphosa had deliberately misled the house.

But he refused and eventually Frolick asked him to leave the chamber, which he did.

Several EFF MPs then raised points of order, which Frolick dismissed. The EFF MPs then said he must remove himself and made substitution signs.

This continued for a few minutes.

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