, CAPE TOWN, June 20 – Firebrand South African lawmaker Julius Malema was ejected from parliament on Thursday after refusing to retract controversial comments in which he accused the government of murdering miners.
“When police reduce crime, you come here and say the ANC has reduced crime. And when police kill people, you don’t want us to come here and say the ANC government has killed people. That is inconsistent,” Malema had said in his maiden speech to parliament on Wednesday.
The following day, parliamentary chair Thandi Modise ordered Malema to withdraw his remarks because they were “unparliamentary”, but he refused to do so.
“I maintain the ANC government killed people in Marikana,” he insisted, referring to the town where 34 striking platinum miners were killed when police opened fire on them in August 2012.
After being ejected from parliament, Malema stormed out along with fellow parliamentarians from his leftist Economic Freedom Fighters who shouted “You murdered people in Marikana! You killed people! You are murderers! Mercenaries!”
Malema, 33, was kicked out of the ANC in 2012 after criticising the leadership. He founded the EFF party less than a year ago, but it has grown rapidly and took third place with just over six percent of the vote in last month’s general election.
His fiery rhetoric, populist stance and stunts such as turning up in parliament in overalls, a hardhat and gumboots, ensure that he gets a great deal of coverage in local media.
The ruling ANC described the EFF actions in parliament as “atrocious”.
“Such abhorrent behaviour, disguised as ‘militancy’ or ‘radicalism’ makes a complete mockery of this institution and is contemptuous to the people of South Africa,” said the ANC chief whip Moloto Mothapo.