EFF leader Julius Malema got more than he bargained for when he decided to criticise Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor when she had her say at the parliamentary debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second state of the nation address (Sona) on Tuesday. Pandor was addressing Ramaphosa and told him that he shouldn’t necessarily take advice from some of the opposition leaders who had spoken.
She said no one present could claim the same “experience and history” as Ramaphosa could. This angered the EFF, with spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi interrupting to say: “But we warned against people who don’t take advice, this is why Zuma failed.” Malema then continued with the disruption, saying that the minister “said the same thing to Zuma”, continuing that no one should listen to Pandor and that she was “misleading” the president like she misled Zuma.
This was when Pandor clapped back at Malema’s Zuma comment, saying “at least I can hold my head up high. I never said I’d die for anyone” – a comment that was met with laughter and applause. Malema’s mic was then cut off, and the EFF leader was seen attempting to carry on talking regardless.
Pandor’s clever comeback is a reference to the fact that Malema, who became Zuma’s fiercest critic and greatest nemesis after he was expelled as president of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), was once Zuma’s most loyal defender, to the point of famously telling supporters at a rally he would kill or die for him. “We are prepared to die for Zuma. We are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma,” he said in 2008.
READ MORE: Ndlozi tells parliament to turn off the ‘racist’ air-con This was not the only time Pandor responded with wit when confronted with rowdy members of the opposition in parliament on Tuesday.