Sona debate: Malema ruffles feathers

The EFF leader stirred up the debate with a fiery address to the National Assembly.

The EFF leader stirred up the debate with a fiery address to the National Assembly. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Tempers flared in Parliament on Wednesday with parties pointing fingers and blaming each other for South Africa's failures.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema stirred up the debate with a fiery address to the National Assembly.

The firebrand politician launched a stinging attack on President Jacob Zuma during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) debate in Cape Town.

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise tried to reign in a defiant Malema during his maiden address.

"Honourable Malema, I won't have the house degenerating into this. Please debate the Sona."

"No chair, I don't agree with that because you can't tell me how I must debate," he replied.

Malema spent the afternoon fighting off objections, arguing with the speaker and walking off protesting about time constraints.

He 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 also lashed out at Zuma, saying he lacked courage, sold out the revolution and was afraid of white monopoly capital.

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.

Picture: GCIS.

Also in his first debate, Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane made renewed calls for the reestablishment of the Nkandla ad-hoc committee.

The body was dissolved ahead of the 7 June national elections.

ANC committee members were concerned about time constraints when dealing with the matter.

The ANC's Lindiwe Sisulu responded to Maimane.

She accused him of "playing second fiddle in some province [Gauteng] and now the madam [DA leader Helen Zille] has found another hired native."

Malema and Maimane share a laugh. Picture: GCIS.