ANC reacts to Malema’s Marikana court victory

The court ruled it was not unparliamentary for Malema to blame the ANC for the Marikana tragedy.

EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament says Wednesday's court judgment, which looked at the issue of unparliamentary speech, might have far reaching implications on the culture of debate in the National Legislature.

The Western Cape High Court ruled it was not unparliamentary for Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema to say the ANC government caused the deaths of 32 miners at Lonmin's Marikana Mine on 16 August 2012.

The EFF leader launched a legal challenge last year after National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise ordered him to leave the National Assembly chamber for making the comment.

When Modise ordered Malema to leave the chamber, he was followed by other members of his party.

The ANC's Moloto Mothapo says on the face of it, the implications of this judgment are concerning.

"It can't be correct that a Member of Parliament can just stand up and say, 'you are a criminal, you are a thief etc,' without any form of recourse that will be really a violation of other members rights."

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says the ruling is a victory for democracy and the working class.

"The ANC tried to supress the fact that if government massacred workers in Marikana, it tried to silence that story in Parliament and therefore this out outcome and the ruling of the court is a victory for the workers."

In court papers, Malema maintained his statements were in line with his Constitutional right to freedom of speech.