The ANC has distanced itself from its youth league leader Collen Maine’s comments that the Economic Freedom Fighters “must be given war”.
“War-mongering talk is an antithesis to the type of society we envisage to build – regardless of who it comes from,” national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement on Thursday.
“Our responsibility and duty as the ANC and all Members of Parliament should be to restore the dignity and decorum of Parliament; ensuring that this very important institution is able to discharge its mandate in an environment characterised by political tolerance.”
The ANC commended the party’s MPs, who continued to remain composed in the “face of extreme provocation” by the EFF.
The party called on all its members and supporters to refrain from using language that was inflammatory and which could undermine the country’s efforts of promoting and preserving political tolerance.
Maine on Wednesday told News24 that the time had come for the ANC in Parliament to rise to the occasion and give the EFF “war”.
“If they want a fight, they must be given war,” he said following the fracas during the removal of EFF MPs by Parliament’s protection staff on Tuesday.
EFF pushed out
When asked if he meant this literally, Maine said “yes”, because the EFF were doing it literally.
Maine called on the ANC bench in Parliament to “rise and approach those people”.
“The ANC must use our majority in Parliament to do what Parliament’s protection services are doing, [but] better.”
News24 asked Maine again to clarify whether he meant that ANC MPs should physically approach the EFF like the protection staff do.
He responded: “Yes, just do that once and for all. We do that one time so we can put an end to those shenanigans.”
During President Jacob Zuma’s question-and-answer session in Parliament, EFF MPs were asked to leave the National Assembly.
MPs resisted and water bottles and helmets flew. At the same time, a group of EFF supporters ran down from the public gallery to support their leaders. The whole group was pushed out of the building.