SONA combat gear rumours untrue - Parliament

BY CHARL BOSCH - FEBRUARY 9, 2015

A report by the Sunday Times alleging that combat gear and bulletproof vests had been made in preparation for President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on Thursday, has been denied by Parliament.

According to the article, around 80 members of Parliament’s security staff had been attending self-defence classes while a reported 16 of the its strongest protection officers, had been undergoing a three day special training camp session at the police’s Bishop Lavis academy in Cape Town.

“It is unfortunate that the report, which appeared today in a major Sunday newspaper, relies wholly on unsubstantiated information while the official response to the sensational allegations is reduced to a mere denial,” a statement from Parliament said.

“Parliamentary protection officers undergo training as part of their tasks. This has nothing to do specifically with the State of the Nation address. The training for Parliament protection officers will continue. We reject the sensational claim in the newspaper report about procurement of bulletproof vests, tommy bars, handcuffs and other equipment by Parliament for use by its protection officers”.

Last month, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, indicated that the party will disrupt Zuma’s speech out of protest for his failure not to answer questions in the National Assembly, relating to the R246-million upgrades at his private Nkandla home.