DA de­nies court ac­tion a par­al­lel process to Mbete’s probe

The Star Late Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI the Na­tional

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’

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