DA charges the police over House mayhem
THE DA wants heads to roll for Thursday’s violent chaos in the National Assembly, and has laid four charges of assault against the police and a deputy minister.
But the ANC has dismissed this as another of the party’s “publicity gimmicks and laughable stunts”.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said yesterday that three MPs laid charges against the police for assault, and a fourth MP had laid charges against Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana “after he manhandled DA MP Juanita Terblanche”, said Steenhuisen.
Charges were laid in police stations in Durban, Gauteng and Cape Town. “Some of our MPs were injured in the assault. It must be noted that the ANC in the House cheered and celebrated as the police assaulted our MPs. It is particularly shocking that the ANC spokesperson in Parliament, Moloto Mothapo, has called for DA MPs to be charged with assault,” said Steenhuisen.
He said the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2004, “is very clear” on circumstances under which the security services can enter Parliament. “This is done strictly under only two circumstances: either ‘with the permission of the Speaker or the Chairperson’ (of the National Council of Provinces), or ‘when there is an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property’.
“This is a shameless attempt to shift blame for what happened. DA MPs were defending themselves and the democratic legitimacy of Parliament from an unconstitutional police intrusion into the National Assembly,” said Steenhuisen.
If anyone was to be arrested and charged, “it should be police officers who attacked members of Parliament, and those responsible for authorising the police to enter the chamber of Parliament”.
Responding, Mothapo said the office of the ANC chief whip was not “surprised by the DA’s opportunism and grandstanding”.
It was “common knowledge” that the DA MPs “charged at the police and attacked them when they entered the chamber to discharge their lawful duties”.