DA denies court action a parallel process to Mbete’s probe
THE DA has denied launching a parallel process after the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, gave in to its demand for an investigation into the deployment of hundreds of soldiers during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) in February.
DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said yesterday that the decision to investigate the deployment of soldiers was the Speaker’s decision.
However, he said this would not stop the DA from going ahead with its court application for a decision to prevent the future deployment of members of the SANDF to Parliament.
The opposition party also wanted answers from all the relevant authorities as to who decided to deploy more than 440 soldiers during the Sona.
Selfe said the court action was not a parallel process to the investigation launched by the Speaker yesterday.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a parallel process.
“It is a complementary process because we want to know who was responsible, and we need to find out,” said Selfe.
Parliament came under fire after the soldiers were deployed during the Sona two months ago.
However, Assembly said at the time that the army had been part of the ceremonies at the opening of Parliament in the past 23 years of democracy.
Mbete had said the army played a ceremonial role in the civilian guard of honour when the president arrived in Parliament for the Sona.
Opposition parties were not happy and questioned the military’s presence, saying there was no war in Parliament.
They said the army should not be close to the parliamentary precinct because it would infringe on their rights.
The opposition parties also took on Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in the House on the matter and demanded to know who had taken the decision.
Mapisa-Nqakula said she had launched her own investigation, but she would not be able to comment as the DA had gone to court to challenge the decision.
Mbete said yesterday the decision to refer the matter to the powers and privileges com- mittee followed the request by the DA last month.
The DA raised the matter when Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was in Parliament to answer questions.
However, Mbete has not said how long the investigation would take.
The powers and privileges committee, comprising members from parties in the National Assembly, will be deal- ing with the matter.
Selfe said they wanted answers from the Speaker and other people on who took the decision to send the army to the precinct of the national legislature.
He said the Western Cape High Court would help in finding answers for the party and make a decisive judgment.
This would be irrespective of the investigation by the Speaker.
The spokesperson for Parliament, Moloto Mothapo, could not be reached for comment.
‘We want to know who was responsible’