ANC CONDEMNS ALLEDGED INCIDENT OF THREATENED ASSAULT
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip strongly condemns the incident which occurred in a plenary session of the National Assembly last night. The behavior of ANC MP Mervyn Dirks was despicable and not in keeping with the image of parliament and the organisation he represents, the African National Congress.
On Thursday, 30 November 2017, member Dirks allegedly insulted and threatened to assault another ANC MP, Thozama Mantashe.
Member Dirks further went on to show his middle finger to other members of parliament. This member also allegedly called other members of Parliament dogs on his Facebook account.
The ANC Chief Whip has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting an investigation into this incident. If found to be true, these actions cannot go unpunished.
We have also written to the Secretary General of the ANC to institute disciplinary action against this member. We believe that these actions amount to gross misconduct and bring the organisation into disrepute.
It is very regrettable that while observing 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse, a male member of parliament would threaten to assault a female member in Parliament. Members of Parliament ought to be the custodians of our Constitution and this democracy. It is therefore unacceptable that a member of Parliament can be found to be involved in such unbecoming behavior.
Statement issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, 1 December 2017
ALLEGED THREAT MADE DURING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SITTING ON THURSDAY
Parliament, Friday 1 December 2017 – Alleged threatening gestures from African National Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Mr Mervyn Dirks to a female MP during yesterday’s sitting of the National Assembly is receiving the attention of National Assembly Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete.
The Speaker is in the process of determining a suitable course of action. This could include referring the matter to an appropriate committee of Parliament for further investigation and decision.
The alleged threatening gestures fly in the face of the 16 Days of Activism during which society is raising awareness about violence against women and children and calling on men, particularly, to challenge behaviour and norms that condone violence.
Members of Parliament, as public representatives and leaders, are expected to uphold the values of our Constitution, our supreme law. It is to the Constitution that Members pledge allegiance before starting their duties as parliamentarians. The founding values of the Constitution – such as human dignity, advancement of human rights and freedoms, non-racialism and non-sexism – find expression also in the Code of Ethical Conduct for Members, which requires members to promote and support ethical conduct by their leadership and example.
In this context, the alleged conduct of Mr Dirks is highly concerning and cannot be condoned.
Issued by Parliament, 1 December 2017