As Jacob Zuma answers questions in Parliament ex-cops are ready for action

2015-08-06 14:58
Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

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At least 20 former police members will be ready this afternoon to remove recalcitrant members of Parliament by force from the National Assembly. 

President Jacob Zuma is in Parliament this afternoon, answering six prepared questions. One is Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s question about when Zuma would pay back a portion of the cost of the upgrades to his Nkandla home, as ordered by the Public Protector. 

This question has been scheduled for last, apparently due to expectations that it will cause fireworks – as it has done in the past. Today’s question-and-answer session is the first since parliamentary rules were amended last week. 

The new rules stipulate that Parliament’s protection services may remove a person from the house “with the necessary force” if he or she refuses to leave the National Assembly after being instructed to do so by the speaker. 

When a member of Parliament is being removed, other MPs must stay seated, state the new rules. They may not, as happened previously, get in the way of the security services or protect an MP who is resisting. 

The new rules were introduced after a year in which EFF MPs ignored presiding officers’ orders to leave the house and remain seated. The parliamentary drama reached a peak during this year’s state of the nation address, when police members in white shirts stormed into the chamber and forcibly removed the EFF caucus. 

Meanwhile, the Cape High Court ruled that members of the South African Police Service may not be used to remove MPs from the house, or to arrest them. 

However, it has come to light that this court ruling was successfully bypassed by the appointment of at least 20 police officers as members of the parliamentary security services. 

Baleka Mbete, speaker in the National Assembly, confirmed this morning that members of the South African Police Service had been recruited to join this protection unit.  

According to Mbete, they are officially employees of Parliament and their salaries are paid by Parliament. 

The former police members, whom some believe were part of the “white shirts” brigade in February, are expected to watch over this afternoon’s proceedings in Parliament. 

The “white shirts” refer to the members of parliamentary security services who removed EFF members during a scuffle in the chamber during the earlier state of the nation address. 

Read more on:    julius  |  malema  |  parliament

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