SONA | Only Parliamentary security will be in the House, not police - Bheki Cele

2020-02-13 14:42

Police Minister Bheki Cele says only parliamentary security, not police, will be inside the National Assembly chamber when President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

Cele spoke to journalists during his inspection tour around Parliament on Thursday morning.

He made this statement on the back of EFF claims that Parliament's security team was planning to "smuggle" police officers disguised as protection officers into the House.

"Parliament has presiding officers. The work of the police is to make sure that Parliament is safe for the president to deliver his speech. Our job is to make sure that Parliament is safe, and the president is safe and all the people invited are safe including the EFF as members of Parliament," he said.

News24's wall-to-wall coverage of Ramaphosa's fourth SONA: news, analysis and live streams

Cele added that "as the South African Police Service, it will be a dereliction of duty if we don't act on" anybody who disturbed the peace, crossed the line and committed a crime.

The EFF claimed on Tuesday that police officers dressed in white and black, which it previously referred to as the "white shirts", will be brought in, News24 reported.

This would be contrary to the rule that only the Serjeant-at-arms or Parliamentary Protection Services can remove a member from the Parliamentary precincts.

Police are not allowed to remove MPs from the chamber. Parliament, however, on Tuesday said it would not be distracted by the "propagation of conspiracy theories".

Parliament urged the EFF to submit any evidence of the claims to the presiding officers, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo.

At least 1 000 police officers will be stationed in and around the Parliamentary precinct to maintain order.

Cele said an additional 1 000 will be added by the time Ramaphosa delivers his speech at 19:00.

Read more on:    saps  |  bheki cele  |  cape town  |  sona 2020  |  police

Inside News24

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 network.