It’s official: Cops recruited for security at Parliament

2015-08-06 11:50
Baleka Mbete. Picture: Leanne Stander/Foto24

Baleka Mbete. Picture: Leanne Stander/Foto24

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It has finally been officially confirmed that new members of Parliament’s security services have been recruited from the police. 

There has been secrecy and confusion around the composition and training of the new members since City Press first revealed last month that Parliament was recruiting South African Police Service members into its protection services. 

Last week the head and deputy head of the Parliamentary Protection Services were suspended. 

Confirmation came this morning, as the Democratic Alliance was trying to get clarity from the speaker Baleka Mbete in the programme committee over the new members of the protection services. 

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani quickly objected, but Mbete said she actually would like to answer. Mbete said she sent letters to leaders of political parties to explain. 

According to her the proposals of the rules committee had been considered and new staff members for protection services were recruited from the police. 

She added that the new staff members had undergone interviews and vetting and those who complied with the requirements were appointed. 

Mbete emphasised that all members of the security services were now employees of Parliament and had resigned from the police service. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters in reaction to the DA’s quest for answers, accused the party of “zigzag double standards”. 

EFF member of Parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who addressed Mbete as mistress and not speaker, said DA chief whip John Steenhuisen’s efforts to get answers did not matter any more because the DA had already voted in favour of the new rules. 

“I do not know what the DA wants now. You agreed that MPs may be forcefully removed [from Parliament]. What does it matter whether it’s by bouncers or police?” 

Ndlozi added that the rules for which the DA voted were being implemented and “now you must live with it”. He said the EFF would put the rules to the test this afternoon. 

“We will then see if they wear blue uniforms or white shirts,” he said, in reference to the white shirts that removed EFF members during a scuffle in the chamber during the state of the nation address earlier. 

Mbete said Ndlozi and Steenhuisen should rather take up this matter outside, after the meeting. 

Fireworks are expected this afternoon when President Jacob Zuma answers questions in Parliament. 

One of the questions on the schedule is from EFF leader Julius Malema, who will ask Zuma when he will pay back the money spent on nonsecurity upgrades to his Nkandla home. The question is last on the list, apparently to minimise disruption.

Read more on:    julius malema  |  parliament

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