Churches Bill: MP heated exchange with minister lands him in trouble


The MP for Goodhope/Mabule James Mathokgwane was thrown out of parliament this afternoon after he failed to comply with Deputy Speaker Kagiso Molatlhegi’s orders to withdraw a statement.

Mathokgwane was debating the controversial Societies Bill when he started quoting some sections of the Constitution saying the Bill was contradicting them. 

The minister of Health Dorcus Makgato interjected Mathokgwane accusing him, and his opposition colleagues of treating Parliament like a kindergarten school.

Visibly infuriated by the comment, Mathokgwane demanded Makgato to withdraw her statement, which she refused. He also demanded protection from the Deputy Speaker, whose response was that he has ordered the Parliamentary Counsel to research more on the sections that Mathokgwane cited earlier. 

“I will not let my right to freedom of expression to be violated, I would rather be thrown out of the House,” said Mathokgwane. 

The UDC legislator angrily crossed the parliament aisle in the direction of the Health minister warning her not to dare test his intelligence. 

“Don’t you dare test my intelligence,” Mathokgwane said, angrily and pointing fingers at Makgato before Sergeant at Arms (head of parliament security) intervened and escorted him out.

Later on MP for Molepolole North Mohammed Khan asked Makgato to withdraw her statement and demanded the Deputy Speaker to make a ruling on the use of the word "kindergarten" by the minister. 

“I represent more than 8,000 people in Mokwena, I would not stand here and be told that I behave like I am in a kindergarden school,” he said.

There was exchange of words between the ruling party members and their opposition colleagues until Vice President (Leader of the House) Mokgweetsi Masisi intervened and called for order.

He assured MPs that they can always complain to his office, or that of the Speaker of the National Assembly if they are aggrieved by the manner in which parliament proceedings are conducted.

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