Malema makes dramatic debut in Parliament

The EFF leader fought off objections and argued with the National Assembly chairperson.

Julius Malema made a dramatic debut in Parliament by arguing with the National Assembly chairperson. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Wednesday made a dramatic debut in Parliament.

He fought off objections and argued with the National Assembly chairperson, walking off protesting about time constraints.

The firebrand politician delivered a stinging attack in the National Assembly during a debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Malema was repeatedly called out on points of order, especially relating to Marikana, where 34 striking miners were gunned down at the hands of police on 16 August 2012.

"The ANC government massacred the people in Marikana. Those people [police] were representing the ANC. I will not withdraw my statement," he said.

The EFF leader had harsh words for Zuma.

Malema said the president lacked courage, sold out the revolution and was afraid of white monopoly capital.

He challenged everything from Zuma's conduct to the statues at Parliament.

"The statue of [Louis] Botha outside this Parliament must go down because it represents nothing about democracy. It represents apartheid and backwardness, and must go in the dustbin of history."

The politician also criticised white people who can't speak African languages.

"As part of nation building, we need to take harsh steps by not celebrating any white person who doesn't speak one of the African languages."

Malema was challenged on that point when another Member of Parliament (MP) asked him why he delivered his speech in a white man's language.

"I have no time for racist questions," he replied.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane also delivered his maiden address in Parliament.

He said South Africans can't trust Zuma until he tells the truth about state spending at his private Nkandla home.

Earlier on Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe painted a bleak picture of the country's economy.

He said the economy is still recovering as a result of the 2008 recession.

Radebe said while developed economies had started the recovery process, the same couldn't be said about emerging markets.

"South Africa's low economic growth rate and weak export performance has weakened fiscal balance."

Video: Sona 2014