Tension arose in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) sitting during the budget vote debate of Sport, Arts and Culture on Friday. This came as the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) member Fanie Du Toit made comments about ethnicity and calling on other ethnic groups to erect their own statutes instead of destroying the statues of other groups.
This was triggered by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Member of Parliament Mmabatho Mokause, who called for the apartheid and colonial statues to be removed and placed in an apartheid museum. It was the last sitting of the NCOP for 2019.
Before bidding one another farewell, the NCOP members passed various budget votes and bills.
Mokause was critical, not only calling for the removal of statues, but also for Die Stem version to be removed from the National Anthem.
“We need to stop celebrating and honouring things that caused us so much pain. We need to remove apartheid statues with no apologies, particularly here in Parliament and take them to a dedicated apartheid museum as a reminder of our future generation, under the theme: ‘Never again’. We need to recognise the pain that Die Stem caused to the majority of our people and the symbol it still has to arch racist and that having Die Stem still as part of our National Anthem is offensive to the memories of all those who were killed by the racist government. Die Stem must fall with no apologies.”
FF-Plus’s Fanie Du Toit reacted to Mokause’s statement.
“If you do not know where your roots are, you don’t know where you are heading. Honourable chair, removing cultural statues that belong to a certain ethic group is not the solution. It’s turning a blind eye. If it is so offensive to other members in the House, I can make the example of having a stone and then putting it under the rug. They are going to fall over it all the time. The Freedom Front Plus suggests that other ethnic groups also put up statues of their own.”
African National Congress Member of the NCOP China Dodovu took offence and told Fanie Du Toit that he was out of order for his comments on ethnicity.
“Honourable Chair, I am calling a point of order because this Honourable Member is misleading the house. He is saying that we don’t know our roots; we don’t know where we come from; and we don’t know where he is coming from. We know where he is coming from! And when he came to this country! Therefore, he is misleading the country when he says we don’t know our roots and we don’t know his roots. We know his roots!”
It did not end there. House Chairperson Winnie Ngwenya’s hands were full as calls were made for Du Toit to withdraw his comments.
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