Sona security: More questions than answers

2015-02-12 23:54

Questions remain over the security personnel sent in to forcibly remove EFF MPs from the National Assembly.

Clad in white shirts and black pants, the men – whom EFF MPs alleged were armed – moved in through both entrances of the National Assembly just as Speaker Baleka Mbete ordered that EFF leader Julius Malema and his fellow MPs vacate the House.

It’s not clear whether the security personnel were Parliament’s own protection services or if members of the police were involved.

Minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe, briefing the media just after the adjournment of the sitting of Parliament, said security forces and parliamentary security were involved in bringing order to the House. He said the Speaker was within her rights to call for the involvement of the security personnel.

“The Speaker indicated that when she asked members to leave, the sergeant at arms couldn’t be able to do to so. Then the security services of Parliament… she also indicated that the security forces as well (were called in), for which she is empowered in terms of the Powers and Privileges Act. Those security forces as prescribed in the constitution, include the police,” he said.

Radebe, however, avoided questions on why the cellphone signal was jammed inside the National Assembly chamber, forcing journalists and some members of the public to chant “bring back the signal” in protest at what was seen as a move to suppress communication from the House.

He referred all questions on the matter to Parliament.

“I do not know who has jammed, if that was a jamming. The Speaker indicated she’s going to find out from the security of Parliament. That question has to be directed to the presiding officers,” he said.

He condemned the actions of the EFF, saying it was clear they were hell-bent on disrupting proceedings.

“The events that unfolded before our eyes were aimed at bringing our democracy into serious disrepute,” Radebe said.

He also said he wasn’t aware of allegations that a woman MP had been assaulted by security personnel and was bleeding.

DA MPs, all clad in black, then left the chamber saying they would not be participating in the state of the nation following the forceful removal of EFF MPs by security personnel.

Zuma began his speech an hour after the time he was scheduled to speak.

On load-shedding, Zuma said government would give Eskom R23 billion in its bid to keep the lights on and that the department of public works had instructed that all government owned buildings be energy efficient. He said the government would go ahead with the controversial plan to add an extra 9600 Megawatts through nuclear power stations.

“Our target is to connect the first unit to the grid by 2023, just in time for Eskom to retire part of its aging power plants,” he said.

Echoing the announcement made by the ANC after its Lekgotla, Zuma confirmed that foreigners would no longer be allowed to own land in South Africa and that land ownership would be limited to 1200 hectares for individuals. The Regulation of Land Holdings Bill is to be submitted to Parliament later this year, he said.

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