DA swears to defend Parliament ‘regardless’

2014-11-19 00:00

DEMOCRATIC Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament Dean Macpherson from Umhlanga will do “whatever it takes” to uphold the Constitution and defend Parliament — even if it means taking on the police.

He was one of four DA members injured in last week’s parliamentary fracas.

He laid assault charges at the Durban North police station last Friday after injuring his left arm during an altercation with the police.

Tempers flared after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member Reneilwe Mashabela refused to withdraw her statement President Jacob Zuma was a “thief”.

This week Macpherson sported a sling to support his injured arm.

Reliving last week’s incident, Macpherson said he arrived at work at 8.30 am and noticed seven Public Order Police vehicles parked outside Parliament.

“I told my colleague there was going to be trouble in the House today,” said Macpherson.

Members went into the chambers for the sitting at 2 pm.

“The speaker immediately tried to invoke rule two stating for unforeseen circumstances the programme for the day can be changed.

“She did not want motions and statements to be dealt with. She just wanted to deal with Nkandla,” he said.

Macpherson said the DA felt Speaker Baleka Mbete abused Parliament’s rules.

“Tempers flared, because the speaker failed to handle the situation. We discussed the Nkandla report and then there was an adjournment. After the break, I went up to my office to do some work, but carried on watching the proceedings from my office TV.”

Macpherson watched as the sergeant-at-arms tried to persuade Mashabela to vacate the house.

Mashabela refused to leave and the sergeant-at-arms walked towards the door and that is when the television live feed was cut.

“I knew something bad had happened, so I ran back to the House, but the police were blocking the entrance and refused to let me in. I rushed past the police and managed to get into the house ... There was a full-on brawl,” he said.

“One of our MPs was punched in the face; another was thrown over the bench and a 60-year-old was pushed on to the floor. I was pushed around and that is when I pulled a muscle on my arm.

“I was traumatised and am still traumatised by what had happened. I try to avoid the police in Parliament since the incident happened,” he said.

He returned to Durban the next day.

“I was wearing a supportive sling this week, but we are not going to back down. We will defend Parliament again if we have to.”

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