EFF MP Naledi Chirwa apologises for no show in Parliament, because her infant baby was sick

EFF MP Naledi Chirwa apologised for skipping the Budget speech, but netizens say she was completely in her right to do so. File Picture: Supplied

EFF MP Naledi Chirwa apologised for skipping the Budget speech, but netizens say she was completely in her right to do so. File Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 5, 2024


The Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) member of parliament Naledi Chirwa took to X on Monday to publicly apologise for not attending the Budget Speech in Parliament in February as her child was sick.

On the same day, she missed the vote which impeached judges John Hlophe and Nkola Motata, which her party was vehemently against. EFF leader Julius Malema at the time said MPs who missed the vote would have to explain why.

In her apology, Chirwa said that the reason why she missed proceedings was because she was unable to attend due to the fact that her four-month-old daughter falling ill and that she had to go home.

She added that her daughter is now with her mother until after the May 29 general elections.

She also shared how she had taken maternity leave just a day before giving birth and took two months maternity leave after giving birth.

“I do not doubt my commitment to the movement of the people and the responsibility we have been entrusted with in the Parliament of South Africa,” she writes.

“This is the primary reason why I went on maternity leave a day before I gave birth and returned two months prior to the lapse of maternity leave,” said Chirwa in a statement posted on X.

— Mam’Mpungose 🇵![CDATA[]]>🇸 (@NalediChirwa) March 4, 2024

With over 800,000 views, her post has since gone viral.

Most X users are unhappy about the fact that she took such short maternity leave and the fact that she had to apologise in the first place.

@Moanerleaser wrote: “Naledi’s apology is horrific for many reasons but the most heinous part - for me - is where she mentions to have only gone on maternity just a day before giving birth AND returned to work a whole TWO MONTHS before her leave lapsed. That’s no badge of honour, it’s criminal!”

IOL spoke to Owethu Mbambo, a labour, employment and human rights lawyer, regarding the maternity leave laws in our country.

Mbambo said according to South African labour law, pregnant women are entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave, which may start at any time from four weeks before an expected date of birth.

While for many, it may have seemed like Chirwa’s maternity leave was too short, Mbambo said it was well within her rights to go on maternity leave when she wanted to and return when she did.

As a working mother, Mbambo explained that Chirwa had the right to take family responsibility leave when her daughter fell ill. She said one was entitled to a minimum of three days of paid family responsibility leave per year, while she added this could also differ from company to company.

Family responsibility leave extends beyond children falling ill, it can also be used for bereavements, she said.

Here’s a look at a few other responses to Chriwa’s post.

@kaysexwale responded: “Reading this made me sad that as a young woman you are made to explain yourself publicly in this manner. The misogynistic culture that denies you the basic dignity of finding your balance of motherhood and leadership should alarm us all.”

Former DA MP Mbali Ntuli said: “This is tough and having kids and one being sick I’m sure it was just a mistake to not report to the whip. The organisation could have submitted an LOA on your behalf though.

“In any case I do not think being made to pay financially for a mistake that was made during a difficult emotional and physical period is fair. I hope you can still take this on review.

“Many of your colleagues regularly missed sittings in KZN with no explanation I’ve never seen any of them punished publicly for it. I hope this information might help you get leniency,” she said.

IOL Lifestyle