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DA demands probe into national assembly brawl

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The DA will demand an investigation by the parliamentary oversight authority (POA) into the chain of events that saw riot police sent into the National Assembly last week, the party’s chief whip said on Monday.

“Where possible, officials’ heads must roll. In addition there needs to be a multi-party committee established through the POA to deal specifically with the circumstances under which the security services are utilised in the parliamentary precinct,” John Steenhuisen said.

He confirmed that the Democratic Alliance had laid four charges of assault after its members clashed with police sent into the Chamber to remove Economic Freedom Fighters MP Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela, who had called President Jacob Zuma a “thief”.

“Three MPs laid charges against the police for assault, and a fourth MP has laid charges against Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana after he man-handled DA MP Juanita Terblanche.”

Steenhuisen said the law on parliamentary powers, privileges, and immunities clearly set out the circumstances under which the security services could enter Parliament, and was breached last week.

“This is done strictly under only two circumstances — either ‘with the permission of the Speaker or the chairperson [of the National Council of Provinces]’, or ‘when there is an immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property’.”

Steenhuisen said there was no danger to life or property and Speaker Baleka Mbete had so far failed to take responsibility for what had happened.

“The ANC has lost the plot in Parliament. A party that does not respect MPs, the Constitution, or the institution of Parliament cannot govern legitimately. We must all work together to restore order and adherence to the rules in Parliament.” SAPA

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