Angry Malema tells Tsenoli he’s enforcing the ‘rules of stealing’

Angry Malema tells Tsenoli he’s enforcing the ‘rules of stealing’

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema speaks in Parliament during the municipal elections debate on August 23, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Lulama Zenzile)

The EFF leader challenged parliament’s deputy speaker to withdraw his membership from ‘this useless parliament’ after a long shouting match.

True to form, EFF leader Julius Malema was in fighting spirit in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s budget vote speech in parliament.

Early in his speech, Malema reminded Ramaphosa that he had promised a job summit in his first speech as president, and that was still to happen.

He said Jeremy Cronin and Blade Nzimande were taking the country back to policies from 1996.

“You cannot grow the country with foreign direct investment only.”

Malema also called Ramaphosa out for not having trimmed the size of cabinet.

“The majority of those deputy ministers are extremely useless.”

Malema said it was “unnecessary” to have a deputy minister in a useless department such as the department of small business.

He said reducing the size of cabinet would add to Ramaphosa’s credibility and show he was not factional, especially if he axed departments headed by people who had supported him at Nasrec.

The EFF leader said he would renew calls for people to occupy vacant land because the ANC had no clear plan and that Ramaphosa was “bluffing about the land”.

“Since you are no longer clear, we have made a call for our people to occupy the unoccupied land … You demonstrated that you were not serious when you appointed Honorable Maite [Nkoana-Mashabane, minister of rural development and land reform] to the land [portfolio]. She knows nothing about the land. And half the time she’s sleeping.

“I know her. She just wakes up now because I’m talking about her food. If I was not taking about her food (her livelihood), she was not going to stand.”

Nkoana-Mashabane was standing in parliament to raise her hand and object.

“If I was not talking about her food, she was not going to stand up. Every time she stands up when we speak about her sleeping-ness [sic] in this House. Why appoint such a person?”

Malema warned Ramaphosa that he stood to lose his case against dismissed Sars head Tom Moyane because the state had “handled it in a clumsy manner”.

“The Special Investigating Unit is corrupt,” Malema went on, alleging that the SIU took bribes from people they were investigating and that “corruption has moved into the Hawks now”, and that police members were now engaging in cash-in-transit heists.

He accused Ramaphosa of being a weak leader who criminals did not fear.

“Our people are dying. They don’t get a firm support from your leadership.”

Malema also alleged that the security division of government was corrupt. He accused Deputy State Security Minister Ellen Molekane of being corrupt, which the ANC then asked him to prove.

“Honorable Malema, you have made quite hectic allegations against the deputy minister,” deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli told him, asking him to withdraw his comments.

“Which allegations are you talking about?” an angry EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu asked him, rising in his chair.

“Don’t scream at me,” Tsenoli said. “I’m speaking.”

“Which allegations are you talking about?” Malema then asked loudly, snapping: “If we can’t raise issues about corruption in this parliament, where will we raise issues? Because these people are continuing to steal under your leadership!” he shouted, pointing at Ramaphosa. “They are stealing!”

When Tsenoli told him there were “rules in this House”, Malema exclaimed: “What rules? The rules of stealing!”

Tsenoli told Malema he was in violation of the rules of the House. He said no member could abuse or cast aspersions on another member unless it was done through a proper substantive motion. He continued to read through the rules about respecting other MPs.

He then asked Malema to withdraw his allegations against Molekane. The EFF, however, demanded that Tsenoli repeat what exactly it was that Malema had said that required withdrawal.

Tsenoli then specifically asked for the reference to Molekane being corrupt to be withdrawn, which Malema quickly agreed to because he wanted to keep talking about corruption in the intelligence department.

He continued, saying they needed to expose the “shenanigans” in the intelligence department.

Turning to the rights of women, Malema asked why Ramaphosa never appeared anywhere with his wife.

“Where is the First Lady? We hope there is no crisis.”

He concluded by criticising the minister of finance, Nhlanhla Nene, suggesting he had made “promises” to businesses and the Public Investment Corporation.

“He’s not the kind of guy we think he is. We’ll all be shocked to find he is corrupt as hell.”

Tsenoli said he would refer Malema’s pronouncement on occupying land, as well as another alleged parliamentary violation. Malema challenged him to go ahead.

“People will occupy land! We don’t need permission from you! You can withdraw my membership from this useless parliament!”

Tsenoli said he felt that he as the chair had been treated with contempt.

He later asked for the EFF’s MPs to be removed from parliament while they all chanted “occupy land!” They eventually left on their own without needing to be escorted out by protection services.

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