EFF gives Ramaphosa the finger

Cape Town – It was another dramatic day in Parliament as EFF MPs Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu were ordered out of the National Assembly, but not before Shivambu gave Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa the finger.

Speaker Baleka Mbete told Malema and Shivambu to leave the House on Wednesday when they refused to withdraw a statement that Ramaphosa had blood on his hands for the deaths of 34 mineworkers in Marikana two years ago.

Ramaphosa, who was answering questions about the Marikana shooting, was labelled by the EFF leader as a “murderer”.

Sapa reported that Malema went on the offensive while Ramaphosa was answering questions related to the 2012 killing of 34 Lonmin mineworkers.

"Why is the deputy president not accepting responsibility for the death of 34 mineworkers that died? You killed them because you are driven by profit," Malema said.

“Stop this thing that we must all take responsibility... we can’t take responsibility...you are the one who wrote e-mails and instigated the killing of 34 people. You are responsible. Your hands have got blood of innocent people who died in Marikana. A lot of blood..."

Malema's question to Ramaphosa about former mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu's testimony before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry that the deputy president had lied under oath went unanswered.

Ramaphosa, who sat on the Lonmin board during the unrest, testified last month that Shabangu had agreed with him that the unrest at the platinum mining house was a "criminal act" and not just a labour dispute. Shabangu disputed this two weeks later.

When Mbete asked Malema to withdraw his statement, he said: "I am not going to withdraw that."

Mbete said that the remarks were unparliamentary and ordered the EFF MPs to leave the National Assembly.

Before the pair left, Shivambu showed Ramaphosa the middle finger and said: "He is a murderer of workers. It is a fact."

Maimane questions Ramaphosa

Earlier DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane tried to get Ramaphosa to concede that his e-mail characterising the unrest as a criminal act had inflamed the situation.

Maimane wanted to know if Ramaphosa would resign should the Farlam commission find him guilty of wrongdoing.

"I had wanted earlier to actually say that I think it will be incorrect to begin here to address the substantive issues that are being dealt with by that commission," Ramaphosa replied.

"I sat in that commission for two solid days and...I volunteered to go because I wanted to tell the truth."

Ramaphosa said commenting on the possible outcome of the commission would be "almost tantamount to contempt of that commission".

DA MPs pushed for a direct answer, but Mbete again intervened, stopping the line of questioning.

"You cannot push the deputy president further than what he has said to the House... because I as the Speaker... am not prepared no matter how much you scream... I'm not going to do what you push me to do simply because you are screaming at me," an irate Mbete said.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry was appointed to probe the deaths of 44 people during a violent strike at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were killed by police, about 70 wounded, and 250 arrested on 16 August 2012. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the previous week.

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