WATCH | 'Do you beat your wife?' Malema leaves parliament after claims and counter-claims
The EFF leader denied claims he assaulted his wife — and then accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of the same offence
Allegations of domestic abuse flew in parliament on Tuesday, before EFF leader Julius Malema led his party out of the house following an explosive debate.
ANC MP Boy Mamabolo used his parliamentary privilege to accuse Malema of physically abusing his wife, Mantwa.
While Malema was responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address during a debate on Tuesday, Mamabolo stood on a point of order — and then directly asked the former ANC Youth League leader to confirm or deny allegations that he physically abused his spouse.
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Mamabolo and Malema, both from the Limpopo township of Seshego, are former political allies turned foes. They served together in the Youth League.
“You are abusing your wife. We want you to stand here in front of the nation and assure us. So my question to you is: are you abusing your wife?” asked Mamabolo.
But Malema instead turned a deaf ear to Mamabolo's question, opting to continue reading his speech, in which he attacked Ramaphosa's policies.
However, the house was plunged into chaos as ANC MPs repeatedly rose on points of order in an attempt to force Malema to directly respond to Mamabolo's question.
At that point, Malema boldly told members of the ANC caucus that he's got them by “the scrotum”, and that the “fools” would not tell him when and how to respond to questions.
“I never said I won't answer the question. So I'm reading my speech. No one is going to tell me what to do, at what time. I am in charge, that's why these fools are running around.
“I've got the ruling party by scrotum. I'm in charge; I'm running the house,” Malema said amid heckling between EFF and ANC MPs.
When asked by NCOP chairperson Amos Masondo to withdraw his comment calling MPs fools, Malema refused. Masondo said he would rule on the matter later.
“Let's keep it for one hour so I can be on this platform for one hour. Let's go on,” said Malema as he mocked ANC MPs.
“The caucus of the ANC has collapsed. I'm in charge,” said a giggling Malema.
When he eventually addressed Mamabolo's claims, Malema said they were not true.
“I don't have a history of abuse. It's a history of love. That's me for you. I don't have a history of abusing women. I'm in love. I'm happily married,” he said.
Malema said he would be suing Mamabolo for R1m since he repeated the allegations against him outside parliament.
But Malema also made a counterclaim against Ramaphosa, saying the president had abused his late ex-wife, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.
He said that Mtshotshisa used to complain to former president Jacob Zuma about Ramaphosa's alleged abuse.
“President Zuma can confirm that Nomazizi used to complain ... about being abused by the president,” he said.
Small businesses minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni accused Masondo of failing to protect Ramaphosa against Malema's “unfair” allegations, which she said the president has previously dealt with.
“You don’t recognise us to clarify that matter. The president was asked whether he's abused his wife and the president said he's never abused his wife.
“In the public domain it was said it was his first wife [who was abused], and Ms Hope Ramaphosa went on public record and said, 'I've not been abused, Cyril has never laid his hands on me.'
“And he turns and says it was Nomazizi because she's now late, may her soul rest in peace, she can't stand and speak for herself,” said Ntshavheni.
Malema and the EFF would later walk out of the house, amid chants of “leave” from the ANC.