Parliament needs new policy on protests - NCOP chair

(File, Beeld)
(File, Beeld)

Cape Town - How can Parliament deal with protests in future? This will soon be in the spotlight as Parliament looks at creating policies to deal with such instances.

In October, hundreds of striking students pushed and shoved their way into the parliamentary precinct during the historic Fees Must Fall protest. The students spent the morning stationed outside Parliament demanding to speak to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, and when they did not get their wish, they breached the perimeter.

And in November, protesting Nehawu workers brought the National Assembly to a standstill when they disrupted committees, and invaded Parliament’s public gallery.

National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Modise said they were looking at creating policies and procedures that could be followed during these kinds of instances.

"As students marched to Parliament, as pensioners marched to Parliament demanding their monies from us, we started looking at the National Key Points Act and the implementation of it. And we thought going forward, Parliament must develop processes and policies of what to do when certain things happen in Parliament," Modise said.

She said this was because the policing and implementation of the National Key Points Act did not fall on them. The creation of the policies would not be about preventing people from marching to Parliament.

"We want to ensure that every member, citizen exercise their right, but you must also allow us to do the job that we have been elected to do," she said.

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