Police remove protesting pensioners from Parliament

2016-05-06 15:54
Pensioners protesting outside Parliament. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Pensioners protesting outside Parliament. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town – A group of pensioners who have been protesting outside Parliament were on Friday forcibly removed by Public Order Police.

But Parliament has denied opening a case against them. 

The pensioners blocked the entrance to Parliament on Thursday and Friday, demanding they be paid pension money they claim is still owed to them.

They were removed around 12:30 on Friday and bundled into vans, along with a group of younger protesters who had joined them to demand land.

A police officer on the scene said the group were first given a warning that they would be removed, and when they did not heed it, they were "assisted" away from the gate and into vans.

He said they were removed because they were blocking a National Key Point.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk confirmed that the pensioners were removed, but could not say how many had been arrested.

On Friday morning, the pensioners lay across the gates in Plein Street, challenging police and Parliament to remove them.

Cars and buses ferrying Members of Parliament and deliveries were turned away.

Pensioner Clement Bacela said about 15 pensioners and younger protesters were arrested.

He said they were being held at the Cape Town Central police station and they were looking for ways to get them out.

Parliament secretary Gengezi Mgidlala on Friday said Parliament had not opened a case against the pensioners.

"I don’t think we will be opening a case against them. Parliament has been in constant conversation with the pensioners since they arrived about two weeks ago. We have met with the department of labour, social development to try and address the issues," he said.

He said they were quite surprised on Friday when pensioners blocked the gates.

"The issue of concern was of prevention of members who were coming into committees, but that was dealt with. But we are engaging the pensioners," he said. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  service delivery

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