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South African Politician in Red Jumpsuit and Miner Helmet Ejected from Parliament

The MP refused to retract statements he made about the government’s role in the Marikana mining massacre, which left 44 people dead.

by Kayla Ruble
Jun 21 2014, 12:00pm

Photo via GovernmentZA

A South African politician was asked to leave parliament on Thursday after refusing to retract statements he had made about the government’s responsibility for the Marikana mining massacre that left 44 people dead in 2012.

The drama started on Wednesday when the head of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, Julius Malema, gave a speech in front of the parliament in which he said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was responsible for the shooting incident that took place on August 16 during a mine workers strike.

In video footage from South Africa's eNCA news, an ANC MP sternly calls on Malema to withdraw his statements.

Video via eNCA News.

"When police kill people and you don't want us to come here and say the ANC has killed people. That is inconsistent, honorable Chair," Malema said, refusing to correct his remarks. He was wearing a red jumpsuit.

"I maintain the ANC government killed people in Marikana," he continued, after multiple opportunities to retract.

The female MP subsequently asked Malema, who founded the EFF in 2013 after being expelled from the ANC, to leave the house. Upon exiting the chamber, he put on a mining helmet and was followed out by other EFF party members, also clad in red clothing and helmets.

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Among the fervor that subsequently ensued, one EFF politician can be heard shouting, “You murdered people in Marikana!”

The massacre occurred when security forces at the Lonmin mine opened fire on strikers, injuring 78 people in addition to the 44 who were killed.

Police say they began shooting in response to being attacked by the workers. Some accounts later determined that many had been shot from behind and at a distance.

"The African National Congress find the claims by leader of the EFF Julius Malema disingenuous that the ANC government is responsible for Marikana massacre,” the ANC said in a statement after Malema's ejection. “We believe that he has abused the privilege of parliament by making a reckless and irresponsible statement on a matter that is under consideration.”

In a separate statement on Friday, the ANC-led South African government noted concern over the developing political instability in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

“The South African Government appeals to all the political leaders in the Kingdom to refrain from any actions that may undermine peace, security, and stability in the country,” the statement read.

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Last week, Lesotho’s Prime Minister Tom Thabne suspended parliament in the country that is completely surrounded by South Africa.

"The South African Government wishes to reaffirm and reiterate the African Union’s position on the unconstitutional change of governments on the continent,” South Africa also said in the statement.

The country expressed “grave concern” about unusual troop movement of the Lesotho Defence Force Units in the capital city of Maseru. There had been reports of a coup, but Thabne’s press secretary denied these claims.

According to an official, Lesotho’s three ruling coalition parties plan to revise their post-election agreement from May 2012 by the end of the month.

Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB

Photo via Flickr