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Zuma Q&A: DA claims Malema’s bodyguards might have been part of Parli Protection Services

By Charl Bosch - May 19, 2016
Zuma Q&A: DA claims Malema’s bodyguards might have been part of Parli Protection Services

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed its concern at alleged reports that two of the Parliamentary Protection Service officers involved in the removal of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members from Parliament on Tuesday, were in fact the personal bodyguards of party leader Julius Malema.

In a statement, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said a closer look at video footage of EFF MP’s being forcibly removed for trying to block President Jacob Zuma answering members’ questions, showed an official dressed in a white shirt running over to Malema’s side, before exchanging blows with another official dressed in a black suit. No mention of the second bodyguard’s doings was however mentioned.

“If these reports are to be believed, and the aforementioned footage seems to support their claim, it is clear that the EFF went into Tuesday’s sitting with an explicit agenda to disrupt the day’s programme and “meet violence with violence” as the EFF leader stated earlier this week,” Steenhuisen said.

“It is deeply disturbing that parliamentary protection services, which are meant to be highly- trained former SAPS members, can be infiltrated by anyone with a white shirt and gym membership.

He said the party would be submitting an urgent notice to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to investigate the matter, as well as revealing the outcome to the public.

"Distinguishing white shirts during the in-House scuffles that have come to characterise the fifth Parliament is incredibly difficult, and them not having name badges makes holding them accountable for excessive force and other improprieties even more difficult,” Steenhuisen said.

On Wednesday, Steenhuisen also remarked that the EFF should be liable for the damage caused during the sitting, when its members threw water bottles and hard hats at officials, with some also using their fists while being removed.

A glass door to the entry of the old National Assembly chamber was also smashed, allegedly by EFF supporters who had been seated in the public gallery, while a fire extinguisher was used to deter security.