EFF ejection was well rehearsed by SAPS – report

2015-02-15 08:02
Security guards entered Parliament to remove opposition lawmakers who disrupted the address by President Jacob Zuma. (Rodger Bosch, AP, Pool)

Security guards entered Parliament to remove opposition lawmakers who disrupted the address by President Jacob Zuma. (Rodger Bosch, AP, Pool)

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WATCH: EFF MPs forcibly removed from Parliament

2015-02-13 09:40

The footage you didn't see on TV. When pictures emerged of Julius Malema on Thursday night with his shirt ripped, this video explains why. WATCH how police violently removed EFF MPs from Parliament.WATCH

Cape Town - Thursday’s ejection of Economic Freedom Front (EFF) members from Parliament, during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, was a meticulously rehearsed security operation by the police and parliament’s security staff, reports the Sunday Times.

According to the newspaper, details have emerged of how a simulation of the swift and violent ejection by EFF members was conducted on three occasions last week.

The South African Police Services members that were involved were reportedly from the public order policing unit, the national intervention unit and the counter-assault team.

The newspaper reports that according to some of the officers involved, members of the presidential protection unit also attended rehearsals as observers. 

The officers say that Parliament’s senior protocol officer, Zarena Croese, pretended to be National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete by sitting in her chair and giving orders during rehearsals. Security officers and police officers played the role of EFF members.

One official said that they were told to deal with the EFF specifically and that it had to be a swift operation.

The Sunday Times reports that the lack of drinking water available to MPs at the start of proceedings was also part of the plan. Security officials were afraid that EFF members would use their drinking glasses to attack security personnel in the event of an ejection.

On Friday however, News24 reported that National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise justified the decision to eject the EFF from Parliament during Thursday’s State of the Nation address, claiming the house is ‘empowered’ to call security.

As riot police dragged EFF MPs out of the chamber and down the corridor after the party interrupted President Jacob Zuma’s speech, the Democratic Alliance walked out and accused the ANC of becoming as oppressive as the apartheid regime.

Modise, however, justified the presiding officers' decision to eject the EFF by force.

"We are also empowered... to ask for security - whichever security - to act... I think we should allow this house to do its business," Modise said.

EFF party leader Julius Malema was defiant following his party’s ejection from Parliament, speaking on the steps of the house.

"Whether they beat us or not, we'll continue to ask relevant questions," Malema told reporters in drizzling rain, the T-shirt under his red overall torn at the neck.

"We have seen that we are part of a police state where when people are unable to give political answers, political solutions to political problems, they resort to security apparatus and we've always said the ANC has sent South African into a security state, so today it was confirmed."

Fifteen minutes earlier punches and hard hats flew as police surrounded the EFF benches after Malema, Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi defied orders from Speaker Baleka Mbete to leave the chamber.

"The grabbed [Godrich] Gardee first, they hit him," Western Cape EFF leader Bernard Joseph said moments after the brawl in which he took several blows as well, while his colleague Emmanuel Mtuleni said he was punched in the face.

"They moered me."

The trouble began soon after Zuma took to the podium as Gardee rose on a point of order, demanding: "May we ask the president when he will pay back the money in terms of what the public protector had said?"

Mbete allowed questions from Shivambu and then a belligerent Malema, who made it plain that he would not rest until Zuma had answered the question the EFF first put to him on 21 August.

She told him to leave and then invoked the Powers and Privileges Act, first calling in protection staff and then security officials. Moments later police surrounded the EFF benches, and fighting began in an echo of the chaos of 13 November - the first time in history that riot police had entered the chamber.

Ndlozi, who said he was briefly throttled, said he believed the EFF had managed to deliver the comment it wanted about Zuma's leadership while Shivambu commented: "Next time we will come armed."

Read more on:    saps  |  da  |  anc  |  eff  |  baleka mbete  |  jacob zuma  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015

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