Riot police intimidate MPs – Malema

The EFF will seek an urgent interdict against the riot police who entered the National Assembly during a heated session on Thursday, says party leader Julius Malema.

"It can never and will never be correct for the police to interfere with the proceedings of Parliament, because elected members of Parliament will always be in fear that whatever they say and do in Parliament will be subjected to the police," he told reporters in Johannesburg yesterday.

"Like in Marikana, the police have once more engaged in an illegal activity, demonstrating their incompetence and that they act on political instructions."

Malema said the Economic Freedom Fighters had approached its lawyers yesterday.

The party wants a court to declare it illegal for the police to enter the Chamber.

A court order would be important because it would protect Members of Parliament, said Malema.

"We need this order so that such future occurrences don't happen again."

It was important that Parliament's work continued, but it could not as things stood.

"We are scared we will be brutalised by police for expressing a different view," said Malema.

"The next step to follow will be a loss of life."

Tempers flared in the House on Thursday when African National Congress MPs retaliated by objecting to motions the opposition tried to bring to delay the tabling of a report on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's homestead at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Democratic Alliance and EFF tabled motion after motion with most questions relating to the Nkandla issue or to Zuma.

Members of the police public order policing unit entered the National Assembly Chamber during proceedings, and a scuffle ensued.

This was after EFF MP Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela refused to leave the podium when she was ordered to do so by acting Speaker Cedric Frolick.

Mashabela had called Zuma a "thief" during a debate on the Grand Inga Hydro Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo and refused to withdraw her remarks.

Mashabela would not be moved when Sergeant-at-Arms Regina Mohlomi tried to escort her from the podium.

Police arrived minutes later and tugged at Mashabela, who could be heard shouting: "I don't want to be touched".

MPs from opposition benches expressed outrage and jumped to Mashabela's defence.

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