Well, we knew the winds of change swirling around Parliament on Wednesday would give us some blockbuster entertainment. But one of the lesser-known subplots will be between Julius Malema and the new Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise.
The ANC’s pick to replace Baleka Mbete was eventually chosen via a secret ballot. The DA had nominated an alternative candidate in Thembekile Majola, but they ultimately fell short. Modise will now be in charge of moderating the robust debates in Parliament and taming the loudest lion of them all.
Julius Malema vs Thandi Modise: A brief history
Julius Malema is well known for his antics in the house, and his bellicose statements often lead to him and fellow EFF members getting ejected from proceedings. In fact, it’s a scenario Thandi Modise is all too familiar with.
Back in 2014, she had asked Malema to retract a comment about the ANC being responsible for the Marikana massacre. He didn’t back down, and Modise had to ask him to leave the house. Offended by a supposed “restriction” on his freedom of speech, Malema dragged the then-National Council of Provinces chairperson to court:
Juju also Tweeted his fury
The case eventually fizzled out, but it seems that Juju hasn’t forgotten their little altercation. In February 2018, he took to his Twitter account to berate Modise once again, once she was appointed to the ANC’s NEC branch:
Thandi Modise is already developing some arrogance a month after being elected to the NEC, it looks like pigs are flying indeed.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) February 1, 2018
Julius Malema praises Thandi Modise, despite “rocky” history
Yet all that now seems like water under the bridge. Speaking to SABC News on Wednesday afternoon, Malema made his feelings clear about the newly-elected speaker, and praised her as a “woman of substance”:
“We think that comparing the speakers, between Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise, that Modise is the most reasonable person. She’s a real woman of substance who rises above political pettiness. We hope she doesn’t succumb to party pressure and she must not make Parliament a mouthpiece for the ANC.”
And just like that, everyone’s all smiles again! We’re not sure how long this truce between Julius Malema and Thandi Modise will last, but for now, the pair will be starting off with a clean slate.