Elite SA police units’ officers removed EFF MPs

2015-03-18 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The so-called white shirts who forcibly removed the EFF MPs during the State of the Nation address, are officers in two elite SA police units.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko yesterday answered a parliamentary question from DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, saying 40 police officers had entered the National Assembly (NA) on February 12.

After withholding information on the officers for more than a month, Nhleko yesterday revealed they are enlisted with the police’s public order unit (the former riot police unit) as well as presidential protection services’ counter-assault unit.

He said they had not entered the NA because there was any physical threat, but had acted on the Speaker’s order in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act as amended in 2004.

Nhleko said this so-called PPP Act allows the police, army and intelligence services to render policing functions on the parliamentary premises by order of the Speaker.

Policing expert at the Institute for Security Studies, Dr Johan Burger, said he could understand why officers in the public order were deployed, but said the counter-assault unit from the presidential protection services should never have acted on the night.

“There was at no stage any physical threat. It was totally wrong to deploy them in the absence of a threat to life.”

He said Parliament should have used its own security personnel, but in cases police have to be used, the public order unit was the lesser of the two evils.

Burger said the public order unit was formed from the old “riot police”, whose members were trained to handle large meetings and crowds, adding this unit should only be called in when it was clear that the security personnel were not coping with the situation.

Burger said members of the counter-assault unit were more like bodyguards and are part of the VIP protection unit who accompany the president, deputy president and cabinet minister.

“They should have been standing by and only entered into the fray if the president was in direct danger. I see no role for them in the robust debate we saw,” he said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.