WHY PARLY’S SE­CU­RITY CHIEF WAS sus­pended

Holtz­man and her deputy ob­jected to the hir­ing of po­lice for Par­lia­ment af­ter its rules had been amended to al­low this, writes Andisiwe Mak­i­nana

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAK­I­NANA andisiwe.mak­i­nana@city­press.co.za – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Janet Heard

Par­lia­men­tary Pro­tec­tion Ser­vices boss Zelda Holtz­man and her deputy, Mot­latsi Mok­gatla, were hu­mil­i­at­ingly es­corted out of the par­lia­men­tary precinct by a ju­nior of­fi­cer in full view of staff shortly af­ter be­ing told of their sus­pen­sion on Thurs­day. Ear­lier in the day, the two had re­quested letters de­tail­ing rea­sons for their pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sions, which were pro­vided by Deputy Sec­re­tary to Par­lia­ment Baby Tyawa. By the time they re­turned to their of­fices, their com­put­ers had been con­fis­cated.

Holtz­man and Mok­gatla were forced to hand in their par­lia­men­tary ac­cess cards, the keys to their of­fices and their park­ing discs be­fore be­ing es­corted by a ju­nior se­cu­rity of­fi­cial to their parked cars and out of the precinct.

City Press has re­li­ably learnt that Holtz­man and Mok­gatla were sus­pended over their op­po­si­tion to the in­clu­sion of po­lice of­fi­cers as part of the par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion ser­vice, ques­tion­ing the process that was fol­lowed in in­cor­po­rat­ing the po­lice into the par­lia­men­tary struc­ture.

They have also ques­tioned the ap­point­ment of a ju­nior se­cu­rity of­fi­cial as the per­son in charge of po­lice de­ploy­ment in the cham­ber and are gen­er­ally un­happy about how Par­lia­ment plans to bol­ster se­cu­rity.

“They had a dif­fer­ent view on the as­pects of en­hanc­ing se­cu­rity in Par­lia­ment, say­ing it could only bring in other things that are not right, in terms of re­port­ing lines. But Par­lia­ment forged ahead with it,” said a source in the par­lia­men­tary se­cu­rity unit.

“They were ques­tion­ing those pro­cesses as the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for se­cu­rity man­age­ment of Par­lia­ment,” said the source.

The of­fi­cial put in charge of the pro­ject to “boost par­lia­men­tary se­cu­rity”, whose name is known to City Press, is an as­set man­ager for par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion ser­vices. Holtz­man and Mok­gatla are for­mer MK sol­diers, and Holtz­man was the deputy com­mis­sioner of the po­lice in the Western Cape.

Holtz­man told City Press: “We are weigh­ing up our op­tions and tak­ing ad­vice be­cause we have our per­sonal, po­lit­i­cal and pro­fes­sional in­tegrity to de­fend.” Mok­gatla de­clined to com­ment. Par­lia­ment said while it had noted in­creased media in­ter­est in fur­ther de­tails of the pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion, it was not its prac­tice to en­gage in dis­cus­sion in the media about its in­ter­nal, ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties.

Par­lia­ment amended its rules this week to make it pos­si­ble to force­fully eject un­ruly MPs.

In terms of the amended rule 53A, Par­lia­ment’s pro­tec­tion ser­vices and the serjeant at arms, act­ing on the in­struc­tions of the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers, will be called upon to re­move a mem­ber who re­sists any rea­son­able re­quest for the mem­ber to leave the House.

City Press re­vealed last week that Par­lia­ment had re­cruited 22 ac­tive po­lice of­fi­cers to be in­cor­po­rated into the par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion unit, even though they re­mained on the SA Po­lice Ser­vice pay­roll.

It bought them the same uni­form worn by par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers – lime-green shirts and black pants – to start work this month.

Par­lia­ment said the move was to boost the ca­pac­ity of the par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion unit to deal with un­ruly MPs.

The ANC for­mally tabled the pro­posal to sec­ond po­lice to Par­lia­ment in its sub­mis­sion to the rules com­mit­tee on Tues­day this week, two days af­ter the City Press rev­e­la­tion, say­ing this would be an in­terim mea­sure while par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion ser­vices per­son­nel un­dergo train­ing.

ANC MP Richard Mdakane, who pre­sented the ANC’s sub­mis­sion, said the sec­ond­ment of se­cu­rity ser­vices would last six months.

Po­lit­i­cal horse trad­ing en­sured the sur­prise clause was not adopted, as all op­po­si­tion par­ties warned the move would be un­con­sti­tu­tional.

An­nounc­ing the Holtz­man and Mok­gatla sus­pen­sions on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Par­lia­ment said it had taken the dras­tic mea­sure to en­able in­ves­ti­ga­tion – into al­leged se­cu­rity breaches and other is­sues af­fect­ing the par­lia­men­tary pro­tec­tion ser­vices – to take place “in an en­vi­ron­ment free of any per­cep­tion of pos­si­ble bias”.

City Press was told that Holtz­man and Mok­gatla were united in their op­po­si­tion to the de­ploy­ment of po­lice in­side the Na­tional Assem­bly cham­ber, which was a move spear­headed by Sec­re­tary to Par­lia­ment, Gengezi Mgid­lana.

Po­lice­men wear­ing white shirts and black pants frog­marched EFF mem­bers out of the Na­tional Assem­bly cham­ber dur­ing the state of the na­tion ad­dress in Fe­bru­ary.

The use of mus­cle­men to deal with MPs was roundly slammed.

The EFF has dis­rupted sit­tings of the Na­tional Assem­bly at least four times in the past year and the ANC is des­per­ate to reign them in and bring back or­der to the House.

PHOTO: PETER ABRA­HAMS

OP­POSED Sus­pended head of the par­lia­men­tary

pro­tec­tion ser­vice Zelda

Holtz­man

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