Help us identify Parliament’s ‘White Shirt’ officers

2015-02-13 19:45

Cape Town - The State of the Nation address descended into chaos on Thursday night when security officers forcibly escorted EFF MPs out of the National Assembly, resulting in injuries.

The presence of these security officers in the chamber sparked a furore, which resulted in an unprecedented walkout by the official opposition, after a refusal by the Speaker to explain why they were allowed inside. Were they part of the SAPS or were they part of the parliamentary protection service?

If they were SAPS officers working directly with security services in Parliament this would be an infringement on the independence of Parliament.

Either way, no one seems to know who these so-called "white shirt" security officials were.

The EFF MPs were clearly manhandled as can be seen in this video clip:

The DA argued that the Speaker had violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers by calling armed police officers into the chamber.

According to DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, there is an important difference between police and parliamentary security - one reports to the executive and the other reports to Parliament.

"To allow one arm of government to suppress the work of another is a very dangerous precedent for our constitutional democracy," Maimane said in a statement.

Political commentator Max du Preez on Friday described the ANC and Cabinet's planning for the State of the Nation address as being "a sledgehammer approach".

"The strategy became clearer even before Zuma’s address. The state intelligence services installed and activated a cellphone signal jammer in Parliament, breaking a basic principle of the constitutional imperative of a separation of powers. The plan was clear: they were going to violently remove the EFF from Parliament, but not allow any images of the ugly scenes to be transmitted – the parliamentary cameras are under their control anyway."

So, once again, who were these security officials in Parliament? If we can identify them, we will get a better idea of who gave the orders for them to be there.

(Photos: AP, AFP)

Can you identify these faces? Send us your tips here.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  politics  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015

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