The EFF are in Parliament to pursue a revolution, not rules, Julius Malema said on Friday, as his party staged a protest outside the legislature.
“I’m not here for rules of Parliament. I’m here for a revolution,” Malema told journalists at Parliament. “We are not going to sit back and allow a situation where a revolution is undermined in the name of rules.”
The fiery EFF leader said his party would not follow parliamentary rules “created by colonialists and imperialists”.
Malema said he was taking legal advice following National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise’s warning that he could face disciplinary steps.
“We’ll take it to court. There is nothing wrong with this [statement that the] ANC government murdered people in Marikana,” Malema said. “At least in court we’ll get a neutral person who is not an ANC deployee.”
Outside the main gate to Parliament, more than a hundred EFF members dressed in red hung a banner repeating the offending remark across the statue of Louis Botha as police looked on. They said they removed it themselves later in the afternoon.
EFF MP Bernard Joseph said the protest “was a natural process in support of our commander-in-chief and his remarks on Marikana”, and predicted that any disciplinary process against Malema would “come to nothing”.
Malema accused Modise of being biased in favour of the ruling party. “We are not going to be threatened,” he said. Modise’s warning in the National Assembly on Friday morning overshadowed President Jacob Zuma’s response to the state-of-the-nation debate.
Modise, who chaired the joint sitting for the last stretch of the debate, said an EFF MP had behaved unacceptably as Malema led colleagues from the National Assembly chamber on Thursday night. She hinted that the member could be disciplined.
“While leaving, disruptive and unacceptable behaviour was demonstrated by a member of those honourable members,” Modise said, without naming the particular MP. “This could very well be a matter that could reside under the mandate of the powers and privileges committee.”
Contempt for the legislature
The Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament Act provides for a member to be suspended, fined, or forced to apologise if it is found that he or she showed contempt for the legislature.
Modise said she would consult the Hansard records as well as recordings of the debate, and consult Speaker Baleka Mbete on the incident.
Malema insisted he felt no shame for his remarks during his maiden speech in the legislature. The defiant EFF leader insisted he would not withdraw his statement that “the ANC government massacred the people in Marikana”.
The statement led to the EFF’s walkout, as Modise on Thursday night ruled that it was unparliamentary because it implied the government, which is made up of MPs, was guilty of murder and ordered Malema to withdraw it.
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.”
At this, Modise ordered Malema to leave the chamber and his colleagues followed him out, loudly protesting as they went. One of the EFF MPs shouted that Modise was the premier of North West province at time of the shooting at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, in August 2012. She responded firmly, “Yes, I was the premier” before ordering officials to close the doors. - Sapa