ANC: DA charges a publicity stunt

2014-11-17 19:51
ANC logo (Supplied)

ANC logo (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The DA's laying of charges against the police and Deputy Minister for Higher Education Mduduzi Manana was dismissed as a publicity stunt by the office of the ANC Chief Whip on Monday.

"The office of the ANC Chief Whip is not surprised by the DA's opportunism and grandstanding... following Thursday's disruptions, which were orchestrated by both the DA and the EFF," spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

"The public has indeed become accustomed to such publicity gimmicks and laughable stunts by the DA."

Mothapo claimed that Democratic Alliance MPs were trying to pre-empt the assault charges that police were going to open against them.

"It is common knowledge and a fact that the DA MPs charged at the police and attacked them when they entered the Chamber to discharge their lawful duties," he said.

Earlier, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen confirmed the party had laid four charges of assault after its members clashed with police sent into the National Assembly of Parliament to remove Economic Freedom Fighters MP Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela, who had called President Jacob Zuma a "thief".

He said three MPs laid charges against the police for assault, and a fourth MP laid charges against Manana after he allegedly manhandled DA MP Juanita Terblanche.

The DA was also demanding an investigation by the parliamentary oversight authority (POA) into the chain of events that saw riot police sent into the National Assembly last week.

Steenhuisen said the law on parliamentary powers, privileges, and immunities clearly set out the circumstances under which the security services could enter Parliament, and that was breached last week.

"This is done strictly under only two circumstances - either 'with the permission of the Speaker or the chairperson [of the National Council of Provinces]', or 'when there is an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property'."

Steenhuisen said there was no danger to life or property and Speaker Baleka Mbete had so far failed to take responsibility for what had happened.

Mothapo said in terms of section 11 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, a person disturbing the House could be removed on the instruction of the presiding officers, a designated member of staff or a member of the security services.

He said the police entered the House with the sole purpose of removing an "unruly" EFF MP.

"But several DA MPs jumped out of their benches, charged at them and aggressively engaged in a scuffle with them in an attempt to prevent them from removing the MP.

"It is illegal to attack the police and interfere with their lawful duties," Mothapo said.

The office of the African National Congress Chief Whip was hopeful the police would open assault cases against the DA MPs.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cape town  |  government

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