Newly elected Memebers of Parliament who made their maiden speeches included two former Fees Must Fall student activists, Nompendulo Mkhatshwa and the EFF’s Naledi Chirwa.
Chirwa referred to president Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) as “stale, empty and meaningless”.
Chirwa had accused the ANC-led government of “the most heinous of crimes” by jailing #FeesMustFall activists.
“You jailed Kanya Cekeshe and Bonginkosi Khanyile, and [you’re] complicit for the brutal murders of Benjamin Phehla and Bongani Madonsela just because they asked for a free education you promised when they were still toddlers in 1994,” she said.
She added that Ramaphosa’s government was complicit in the “brutal murders” of her fellow activists who died during the protests, a comment that solicited Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli to instruct Chirwa to withdraw her comments.
“You have over a million students across all universities but you can only accommodate just under 130,000, where must the rest stay?” Chirwa posed to the president.
“Where do you want these learners to go?” she asked.
As Chirwa left the podium, EFF MPs gave her a standing ovation. But that was not before EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi quipped: “You’re jealous! She’s outshining you!” as ANC MP’s continued to hackle and disrupt Chirwa’s speech.
[MUST WATCH]: Honourable @NalediChirwa making her maiden speech on behalf of the EFF today, responding to Ramaphosa's stale, empty and meaningless State of the Nation Address. pic.twitter.com/F9kp84gqkj
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) June 25, 2019
Mkhatshwa said the generation of #FeesMustFall, raised a warning to the society that there wont be any part of the society that will be left out either academically or economically.
“Core to the student protest was nation building, and young people still find themselves behind bars,” she said.
She also called for the release of Fees Must Fall activists who are in prison.
“Talented young South Africans such as Kanya Cekeshe are behind bars.
“Comrade President, the unconditional release of Kanya and all others must be prioritised by your administration. We call for your presidential pardon,” Mkhatshwa said.
"South African youth are doing great things in various spheres of society both locally and internationally, just look at Sho Madjozi's recent achievement" _Nompendulo Mkhatshwa #SONADebate #Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/fMI8AjasC6
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) June 25, 2019
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.