EFF leader Julius Malema. File photo: Jason Boud

Parliament - President Jacob Zuma's ANC government was directly responsible for the Marikana shootings, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Wednesday.

“The ANC government massacred those people in Marikana,” Malema proclaimed loudly as he made his maiden speech during the parliamentary debate on Zuma's state-of-the-nation address.

He was referring to the shooting of 34 protesting mineworkers by police in 2012.

Malema's remarks drew criticism from the ANC benches, with a ruling party MP jumping up and demanding that he withdraw his statement.

Malema refused to withdraw, with National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise eventually intervening and telling the house she would take advice and rule on Malema's remarks on Thursday.

The fiery EFF leader was interrupted several times during his speech by MPs shocked by his statements which, among others, attacked the ANC for protecting white monopoly capital.

“You (Zuma) are extremely scared of white people, especially white monopoly capital,” Malema said.

“The ANC is part of an elite pact that seeks to protect white monopoly capital, and white minority privileges and this has led to the formation of the EFF because there was a political vacuum and nature does not allow the vacuum.”

Zuma was accused of lacking courage and selling out the revolution.

The president's promises on radical economic transformation were described as empty.

“Mr President, nothing you said was radical. Instead we had a repetition of what has been said before,” Malema said.

Malema called for the immediate removal of the statue of the first prime minister of South Africa Louis Botha on a horse displayed prominently outside the parliamentary gates.

“Louis Botha is not our hero and cannot be a hero of a democratic South Africa,” Malema said

“He is a colonial warmonger, who fought for the exclusion of black and indigenous people from running their own country and affairs.”

White people who do not make an effort to learn an indigenous South African language also came under attack.

“If you have a white friend as a black person and he or she doesn't know your language or is not taking the initiative to learn your language that person is no friend at all.”

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald tried to ask Malema a question.

“Why not give his speech in his mother tongue than in the white man's language of English?” Groenewald asked.

Malema responded with a terse: “I have no time for racist questions.”