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DA to appear in Western Cape High Court to challenge use of police in parliament

By admin
16 March 2015

The DA was expected to appear in the Western Cape High Court on Monday to challenge the legislation which allows for the arrest and removal of people who create a disturbance in the National Assembly.

The DA filed papers in the Western Cape High Court following the removal of Economic Freedom Fighters MPs from the National Assembly during the State of the Nation address on 12 February.

The DA wants the court to declare that section 11 of the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act does not apply to MPs and therefore cannot be invoked to allow security services to remove them from a sitting, House, or committee.

In the alternative, it seeks an order finding section 11 unconstitutional, reading in a phrase which makes clear the section does not apply to members, and striking out the phrase that allows the speaker and chairperson to order arrests.

The DA relied on section 58 of the Constitution, read with section 71 of the Constitution, which declares that members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces could not be arrested for anything they had said in, produced before, or submitted in the relevant house or any of its committees.

Should the court find section 11 to be constitutionally valid, the party seeks an order declaring that it only apply in circumstances when a person commits a disturbance which amounts to an offence for which they can be arrested.

- SAPA