AFRICANGLOBE – EFF leader Julius Malema and his Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu were ordered to leave South Africa’s National Assembly on Wednesday after accusing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of “murdering” 34 Marikana mineworkers.
Malema went on the offensive in the National Assembly while Ramaphosa was answering questions related to the 2012 killing of 34 Lonmin mineworkers in Marikana.
“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.
“You are the one who wrote e-mails and instigated the killing of 34 people. Your hands have got blood… of people who died in Marikana.”
Speaker Baleka Mbete demanded Malema withdraw the statement, as it was unparliamentary.
Malema refused, prompting Mbete to order him to leave the House. Shivambu was ordered out after he repeated Malema’s sentiments.
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.
Also on Thursday, 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 August 16, 2012. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the previous week.