Mbete calls for bud­get shift to stop dis­rup­tions in Par­lia­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NATION - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

NA­TIONAL As­sem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete is in talks with the cab­i­net to speed up the process aimed at tight­en­ing se­cu­rity at Par­lia­ment to prevent dis­rup­tions that have rocked the House.

Mbete said the bud­get for se­cu­rity for Par­lia­ment should no longer re­side with other de­part­ments of gov­ern­ment but in­stead the funds must be chan­nelled di­rectly to the na­tional leg­is­la­ture.

MPs said they were tired of the meet­ings be­ing dis­rupted by peo­ple.

In a re­cent in­ci­dent, mem­bers of Black First, Land First (BLF) barged into a meet­ing of the home af­fairs port­fo­lio com­mit­tee, where they con­fronted busi­ness­man Nicky Op­pen­heimer.

The BLF has also had other con­fronta­tions in­side Par­lia­ment which have led to dis­rup­tions.

When the EFF be­gan dis­rupt­ing pro­ceed­ings of Par­lia­ment the in­sti­tu­tion hired for­mer po­lice of­fi­cers as pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers to eject mis­be­hav­ing MPs.

MPs raised con­cerns at the meet­ing of the pro­gram­ming com­mit­tee this week about lack of se­cu­rity mea­sures at Par­lia­ment fol­low­ing dis­rup­tions.

Mbete said they were work­ing on a plan to beef up se­cu­rity in­side the na­tional as­sem­bly.

“Th­ese are mat­ters in which we are pre­par­ing a re­port. For more than a term we have been en­gag­ing the ex­ec­u­tive on the bud­get of Par­lia­ment when it comes to such mat­ters (of se­cu­rity) but the bud­get is not with Par­lia­ment,” said Mbete.

She added the bud­get for se­cu­rity up­grades was with the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works.

When the SAPS were in Par­lia­ment re­cently to brief the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on po­lice on se­cu­rity mea­sures, af­ter an em­ployee shot him­self in the build­ing, they com­plained about the long process to fix se­cu­rity.

Se­nior of­fi­cials in the po­lice said they would have to li­aise with Pub­lic Works to get things done.

They said it took a long time be­fore bud­gets could be ap­proved to im­ple­ment im­proved se­cu­rity mea­sures.

Mbete said the is­sue of the se­cu­rity of Par­lia­ment could nnot be com­pro­mised.

But they wanted to en­sure this was done to prevent dis­rup­tions.

Mbete did not in­di­cate how much they would need for the se­cu­rity up­grades at Par­lia­ment.

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