No police wanted in Parliament - DA
Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, has said that the party is prepared to go to the Constitutional Court the next time any Member of Parliament (MP) is forcibly removed by police.
Speaking at a joint media briefing of opposition parties in Parliament on Thursday, Maimane said that the intervention of security officials to remove members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on November 13th and during the State of the Nation Address last month, had resulted in the country’s constitution being pushed to breaking point to “protect President Jacob Zuma”.
“The use of Police, an agency of the Executive, to intimidate assault and remove MPs from the Chamber is an attack on the separation of powers and Constitution. As Opposition Parties, we are united in condemning the use of the police in Parliamentary affairs,” said Maimane.
He said that the problems started with the ad-hoc committee meeting into the R246-million upgrades at Nkandla, “which has become poster for corruption and President Zuma’s plethora of scandals and crises”.
“In this process, the ANC and the President trampled on the Constitution and Chapter Nine Institutions, specifically the Public Protector, by calling Advocate Thuli Madonsela a cocktail of names, even going to the extent of calling her a CIA spy.
“They have reduced her Office to that of an ombudsman and downgraded remedial actions to mere recommendations.”
Maimane also took a considerable swipe at National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, accusing her of showing favouritism towards Zuma and his Executive.
“We have seen how Speaker Mbete has ruled from her throne with an iron fist and come down hard on the opposition for demanding consistency in the application of the rules, and that she uphold the Constitution.
“Mbete has handled President Zuma and his Executive with kid gloves, when her role is to ensure that Parliament fulfills its role as an Executive oversight body, not a tool that serves to protect the President and his Executive”.
Describing the November 13th chaos, Maimane said that Mbete “deliberately disregarded the principle of the separation of powers” when she called the Sargent-At-Arms to remove EFF MP’s after the party’s Reneilwe Mashabela, had refused to withdraw a remark describing Zuma as a thief.
“A number of DA and EFF MPs were injured and hospilatised during this event. This was a shameful event that shook the nation on that late evening. Something broke on that day, and the ANC have no intention to fix what was broken”.
He went on to describe the deployment of police during the SONA, triggered when EFF Secretary General Godrich Gardee asked Zuma moments into his speech when he is going to pay back a portion of money spent as per Madonsela’s report, as a “national day of shame” carried out “at the behest of the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces”.
“The Presiding Officers invoked a section of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, which permits the presence and use of the security services in certain events, with the permission of the Speaker or the Chairperson,” he said, adding that a latter replay from the Minister of Police, confirmed that the officers were members of the Public Order Policing and Counter Assault units.
Maimane said that the party is awaiting the outcome of the matter before the Western Cape High Court, stating that the act was wrongly applied and should not apply to MP’s.
IMAGE sourced from tarnews.co.za
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