Cape Town – MPs were warned about their language after a speech by Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane set off a plethora of old school insults during a debate on Wednesday.
While bellowing her speech during the debate on President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, Mokonyane was taken to task for saying "voetsek", "bullshit", and "se voet" while dismissing the DA's claims to successes.
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli demanded that she withdraw the remark, which she quickly did, moving on swiftly to say that a DA MP looked "very verkrampt" (conservative).
She called the opposition "dogs barking at a moving vehicle", and Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota a "dead man walking".
Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa watched the spectacle unfold with deadpan faces.
DA chief whip, John Steenhuisen, leapt up to ask whether the word 'bullshit' was parliamentary, after he had to apologise earlier for saying presiding officer Raseriti Tau's call on a point of order was "rubbish".
"I wonder if the word 'bullshit' is parliamentary?" he said through howls and shouts.
Mokonyane said she was merely using the word bullshit because the "verkrampte" MP had said it to her.
"I said bushes! Bushes!" he exclaimed.
IFP MP, Narend Singh, stood up to remind the House that Mokonyane's portfolio was water and sanitation so the occasional reference to sanitation was not unusual.
A despairing Tsenoli said, "Honourable members, can you stop using filthy language in the House," he said. "It is incorrect for you to throw insults at each other. It is just simply nonsense. It is incorrect."
Another DA MP claimed Mokonyane had stuck out her tongue at her.
Tsenoli said he would follow up on all the complaints and Mokonyane finished her speech.