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Claims EFF might have brought “weapons” to Parliament must be investigated - ANC

Claims EFF might have brought “weapons” to Parliament must be investigated - ANC

The African National Congress (ANC) has called for an investigation into allegations that members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) might have brought weapons to Parliament in an attempt to defend themselves against removal by Parliament’s Protection Service this past week.

On Tuesday, Parliament descended into disarray when protesting EFF MP’s were again forcibility removed for trying to block President Jacob Zuma answering members’ questions. The calling of security turned ugly when water bottles and hard hats were thrown at officials, while others exchanged punches inside and outside the Parliamentary Chamber.

In a statement on Thursday, Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen claimed that at least two officials were EFF leader Julius Malema’s personal bodyguards, illustrating that the party could have come to Parliament with the sole aim of interrupting proceedings.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi subsequently dismissed Steenhuisen’s claims as hypocrisy, saying video material of events shows that a number of officials who intervened, were in fact part of Zuma’s security entourage who got involved only to assault EFF MP’s.

“This is despite the fact that when in Parliament, Zuma is bound by the same rules as the rest of other MPs. It means his bodyguards must not be functional in the house. He must be protected under the rules that protect other Members of Parliament,” Ndlozi said in a statement.

“All our MPs ever do is to speak truth to power. They never beat up anyone or threaten the life of anyone or the property of parliament, yet for many times now, hooligans are unleashed on them to assault them in front of the world. It is [therefore] evident that the EFF is not only being attacked by protection services, the whole parliament is against us, all in protection of a criminal called Jacob Zuma”.

Responding to the latest claims, ANC spokesperson in the office of Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu, Moloto Mothapo, said the ruling party had been made aware that EFF members came to Parliament with “bags stuffed with heavy objects such as bricks to use as weapons”, against security.

“The barbaric assault of a defenceless female security officer, the storming into the Chamber by a man alleged to be Julius Malema's bodyguard, and the damage to property amounting to thousands, represent shocking acts of unadulterated criminality unbecoming of honourable MPs,” Mothapo said.

“It is not accepted that people carry dangerous objects into the chamber. All MPs must be protected inside. Parliament must carefully study the whole footage of that day and use it as concrete evidence in Court”.