The opening of Parliament in South Africa caused a cackle for most as Julius Malema made his debut during the State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma. Malema, clad in his signature red worker’s overall, hard hat and boots, had a lot to say and abused the time allocated to each Member of Parliament for comments.
Taking part in the debate following the Statement of the Nation Address, Malema did not have one good thing to say about President Zuma. He made some scathing remarks on promises to create jobs for the unemployed people of the country. While commenting on the economic policies of the African National Congress Party, Malema said the ANC lacked the ability to embrace radical change. Malema said the ANC did not have the courage to transform itself and has sold out to monopolyinterests within the government that they control.
Often during Malema’s outbursts the Chairperson of the House, National Council of Provinces chairperson,Thandi Modise, had to intervene. During the last twenty years of parliament, the debates have always been held with a respectful attitude by attending members. Malema caused uproar with his comments, giving rise to the Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu being forced to withdraw her comment that Democratic Alliance parliamentary leaderMmusi Maime was another ‘native’ hired by the leader Helen Zille.
Malema would not withdraw his comments when asked to do so, and often failed to show respect when addressing members of parliament. His accusations about the Marikana killings during 2012, when police killed 34 miners, caused a stir. Malema blamed the ANC for this massacre. Malema said that when the police reduce crime, the ANC claim it is their party that reduced crime.
Deliberately accusing the ANC government of the killings and accusing them of murder caused Modise to ask Malema to withdraw his remarks about this statement. The remarks, according to Modise, were improper and inconsistent. Malema refused to do so and continued to rant about the ANC government. then ordered Malema to leave the building.
Modise mentioned that the freedom of speech was allowed in Parliament but with limitations of professional conduct. Modise, angered by his inability to control Malema’s remarks, told Malema that he left no choice but to have him removed from the house and asked ushers to escort him from Parliament.
Malema, followed by his loyal supporters, stormed out of the house but not without causing a small rumpus. They turned on their microphones, shouted abuse at the ANC ministers, and again accused them of killing the miners at Marikana.
While the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema broke all the parliamentary rules, etiquette and respectability, the ANC still lacks the internal disciple to tackle corruption and shows a disregard for law and order in the country.
Parliament began its term as a forum for members to shout out promises once again, instead of focusing on their campaign manifesto. Malema argued that the promises are empty and without loyalty to the people of South Africa. The dictatorial attitude of Julius Malema, and the mudslinging at and criticizing of parliamentary members, will certainly cause a commotion.
The ANC is known for not being good at receiving criticism, and Julius Malema, having spent many years within the party as president of the ANC league, is privy to a lot of inside information. Causing a cackle during his parliamentary debut was expected of Julius Malema. It is his opportunity to tear into the leaders and make his voice heard by the people of South Africa.
By Laura Oneale