DA charges the po­lice over House may­hem

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BA­BALO NDENZE

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”.

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