Julius Malema to return to National Assembly

2014-06-20 09:07

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Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is likely to be allowed to return to the National Assembly today when President Jacob Zuma is expected to speak.

He will, however, have the last word as the EFF has scheduled a press conference for noon, after Zuma’s speech.

Zuma will be giving his reply to the debate on his state of the nation address, which took place in a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

Malema and the MPs from the Economic Freedom Fighters rowdily walked out of the chamber last night when NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise, who was officiating, asked him to leave the House and close the door behind them.

Malema refused to withdraw the statement made during his maiden speech in the debate on Wednesday – that the ANC had killed 34 striking miners in Marikana in 2012 – which Modise said was unparliamentary and did not accord with the decorum of the House.

Modise said that while freedom of speech was allowed in Parliament, it was subject to limitations imposed by the Constitution.

“The statement made by honourable Malema suggests that the government, which is made up of members of this House, deliberately decided to massacre people. This does not only impute improper motive, but also accused them of murder.”

Modise then asked Malema to withdraw his remarks.

Instead of withdrawing, Malema replied: “Chair, when police reduce crime, you come here and say the ANC has reduced crime. When police kill people, you don’t want us to come here and say the ANC government has killed people. That is inconsistent, honourable chair.”

Modise again insisted that Malema withdraw his statement.

“I’m sorry, I won’t do that,” a defiant Malema said.

Modise said she had no alternative but to ask him to “leave the House”.

EFF MPs shouted repeatedly that the ANC had killed the miners and they also accused Modise of being complicit as the premier at the time of the incident.

One EFF MP repeatedly pointed a folded umbrella in Modise’s direction.

ANC MP Nkhensani Kubayi asked for an investigation into the conduct of the EFF MPs, and Modise agreed.

Parliamentary officials confirmed that Malema and his colleagues would be allowed back in the House today as the suspension only lasted for the sitting.

They could, however, be suspended for a week or two should the investigation find their conduct unbecoming.

Malema last night refused to comment as he and fellow MPs left their parliamentary offices on the fourth floor of Parliament’s Marks Building. They cancelled a press conference called for 8pm and moved it to noon today.

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani’s office said last night it “condemns in the strongest terms possible the atrocious behaviour in the National Assembly by the MPs of the EFF.

“Such outrageous conduct not only brought the House into disrepute, but has never been seen in the 20-year history of this democratic Parliament.

“We welcome the indication by the presiding officer that Parliament will investigate the matter with a view to bring all involved in this repulsive conduct to book. Such abhorrent behaviour, disguised as ‘militancy’ or ‘radicalism’ makes a complete mockery of this institution and is contemptuous to the people of South Africa on whose behalf this Parliament exists,” Sizani’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

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