KZN Legislature to beef up security in new outreach sittings

2008-02-04 00:00

KZN Legislature Speaker Willies Mchunu says the legislature is not taking any chances and will increase security at this year’s sittings under the Taking Parliament to the People programme.

Security concerns were raised following disruptions at last year’s sittings in Msinga and Vryheid.

Tempers flared at the Msinga sitting culminating in the DA and IFP MPLs staging a walkout.

Vryheid’s sitting in October was marred by violence, as ANC and IFP supporters hurled chairs at each other and exchanged insults. IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s daughter was injured during the chair fight. Mchunu said the legislature will improve security at the sittings scheduled to take place in the uThungulu and Amajuba districts.

He said the disruptions were caused mainly by some leaders who made party political representations during the sittings. This year, “no politicking will be allowed”.

The legislature has spent R12 million on the programme since its launch in 2005.

Opposition parties, mainly the IFP, have long been opposed to the programme. The IFP has maintained that it is being used to garner votes for the ruling party in the traditionally IFP-dominated areas around the province.

Addressing the media yesterday, Mchunu said research has shown the programme to be successful in ensuring that the voice of the ordinary citizen of the province is heard.

He said this interaction with the ordinary people had resulted in the national government making available an additional R2,38 billion over and above the allocated budget for 2007/2008 financial year.

For the first time this year, the legislature will also embark on follow-up visits to areas where sittings have been held before.

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