Mbete calls for budget shift to stop disruptions in Parliament
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.