Ten­sions flare again

Par­ties fum­ing af­ter be­ing told Speaker is en­ti­tled to sum­mon army to cham­bers

The Witness - Wheels - - NEWS POLITICS -

PAR­LIA­MENT — Ten­sions rose in the Na­tional As­sem­bly cham­ber yes­ter­day af­ter Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Ma­sutha said Speaker Baleka Mbete was en­ti­tled to sum­mon the army to the cham­ber.

“Even the SA Na­tional De­fence Force can be de­ployed in Par­lia­ment. As long as the in­ter­ven­tion is nec­es­sary, jus­ti­fi­able and sanc­tioned by the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers it is per­fectly le­git­i­mate,” Ma­sutha said dur­ing the de­bate on the State of the Na­tion de­bate.

His com­ments stirred up a hor­nets’ nest as mem­bers of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters and the DA ob­jected.

“The hon­ourable mem­ber is now re­flect­ing on a mat­ter that is sub ju­dice. It’s in court and un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the par­lia­men­tary over­sight author­ity, and we have a mem­ber who has not been eat­ing for some four days be­cause the jaws are bro­ken by the po­lice of the pres­i­dent, Zuma … can he with­draw this,” EFF MP Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi said, re­fer­ring to a court chal­lenge against the use of po­lice in the Na­tional As­sem­bly cham­ber.

Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces deputy chair­per­son Raser­iti Tau told the House he and his fel­low pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers were not aware of any pending court ac­tions against Par­lia­ment.

But, Tau ruled that if the case was in­deed be­fore the courts, MPs should re­frain from re­fer­ring to it.

As Ma­sutha con­tin­u­ously tried to de­fend sec­tion 11 of the Pow­ers, Priv­i­leges and Im­mu­ni­ties of Par­lia­ment and Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­tures Act, which en­ti­tled Mbete to call se­cu­rity forces into the House, oth­ers in op­po­si­tion benches jumped up and chal­lenged him.

At one stage, EFF leader Julius Malema fu­ri­ously shouted that Ma­sutha must sit down when points of or­der were be­ing raised.

“He must sit down. It’s a rule. You must know the rules. You are the min­is­ter of Jus­tice,” Malema shouted.

Tau ruled Malema out of or­der, and again asked Ma­sutha to con­tinue with his speech.

It was not long be­fore Malema again jumped up say­ing: “That mat­ter is very sen­si­tive. A woman has been as­saulted, sir.

What fol­lowed was a heated ex­change be­tween EFF mem­bers and Deputy Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter En­ver Surty.

Surty had ob­jected to Malema’s in­ter­rup­tion, de­scrib­ing it as “un­ruly con­duct”.

As the heck­ling con­tin­ued, Surty was heard say­ing: “I am not go­ing to be ha­rassed or in­tim­i­dated … I am not afraid.”

Tau found it hard to con­trol the tem­per­a­ture in the House, in­sist­ing MPs needed to “calm down”.

When DA chief whip John Steen­huisen chal­lenged Surty’s point of or­der, it ap­peared the House could de­scend into fur­ther chaos.

Steen­huisen re­fused to take his seat af­ter re­peat­edly be­ing or­dered to do so by Tau. “I will not sit down. If you want to send the po­lice in to take me out, you can,” a vis­i­bly an­gry Steen­huisen said.

Tau man­aged to re­store some calm in the House, but not be­fore sev­eral se­cu­rity of­fi­cers, dressed in black pants and white shirts, were seen gath­er­ing out­side the cham­ber.

Later dur­ing the de­bate, tem­pers again flared when Malema men­tioned in a point of or­der “the pres­i­dent is ly­ing”.

Malema even­tu­ally with­drew the re­mark, but only af­ter heated ar­gu­ing be­tween mem­bers of the ANC and EFF, as Tau bat­tled to re­tain con­trol of the House. — Sapa.

MBUYISENI ND­LOZI EFF MP “The hon­ourable mem­ber is now re­flect­ing on a mat­ter that is ‘ sub ju­dice’. It’s in court and un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the par­lia­men­tary over­sight author­ity, and we have a mem­ber who has not been eat­ing for some four days be­cause the jaws are bro­ken by the po­lice of the pres­i­dent, Zuma … can he with­draw this.”

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