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Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
21 Sep 2017
12:20 pm

#TBT: Willie Madisha and Naledi Pandor’s Parly banter

Gosebo Mathope

Naledi Pandor objected to Willie Madisha's withdrawal of 'this truth', and Madisha made it clear Pandor's posh accent affronted him.

The Minister of Science and Technology Ms Naledi Pandor. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

In this week’s installation of Throwback Thursday, we take a trip down memory lane to one of Parliament’s historic hilarious moments. Remember the exchange between Cope MP Willie Madisha and ANC NEC member and Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor?

During a heated Parliamentary sitting in June 2015, the former South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) president and ANC MP threw down the gauntlet on Speaker Baleka Mbete to come clean on allegations that she was fraudulently awarded mining shares to the value of R25 million.

House chairperson and failed Tshwane metro mayorship candidate Thoko Didiza ordered Madisha to withdraw his statements, as they “casted aspersions on an honourable member”. She reminded Madisha in a recent ruling former deputy minister of trade and industry and now Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina was instructed to withdraw statements about a DA MP based on newspaper articles.

Madisha relented when he was told the matter should be brought before the House in a substantive motion. He then said that he is withdrawing “this truth”. ANC sharp debater Pandor interrupted the proceedings and challenged Didiza to instruct Madisha to withdraw his statement unconditionally.

“Some of us don’t know English and … hong hong,” Madisha mocked Pandor and the House almost descended into chaos. Pandor reminded Madisha that she speaks fluent Xhosa and Tswana. “Lenna ke bolela Sepedi [I also speak Sepedi fluently],” Madisha said, and continued making animal noises.

SA’s envoy to Germany and former majority party chief whip Stone Sizani and now Minister of Energy Khensani Mmaloko Kubayi leapt to Naledi’s defence, protesting that his animal noises were demeaning. Madisha agreed, but did it in “hong hong” style.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had a unsual suggestion for the honourable members. She told parliamentarians she was ready to move a motion that the bar be closed much earlier. She insinuated that perhaps during lunch lawmakers consume too much liquour – a situation “that plays itself” through statements such as the one Madisha made.

The EFF spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi jumped on his feet and took exception to Mapisa-Nqakula’s assertion that the public representatives were drunk. EFF members have repeatedly accused ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Blade Nzimande of attending parliament sessions tipsy.

In a press statement a few days later, Madisha told the media he was not inebriated, but was “galled” by Naledi’s “superiority that grates … Her tone is arrogant and hostile … had to butt in, as she always does after everything was settled, to wash what was already hanging on the line”.


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