Malema compares Parliamentary chaos to Marikana
Malema said yesterday's chaos in the National Assembly has put South Africa in a constitutional crisis.
CAPE TOWN - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has drawn a comparison between the police's actions in Parliament last night to the Marikana shootings in 2012 while the Democratic Alliance (DA) has described the chaos as an assault on South Africa's democracy.
Riot police entered the National Assembly during a heated debate on the Nkandla scandal yesterday, forcibly removing EFF Member of Parliament (MP) Reneilwe Mashabela and allegedly assaulting other opposition members.
Mashabela called President Jacob Zuma a thief and a known criminal who avoids courts and refuses to go to Parliament.
Addressing the media at the EFF's headquarters, Malema said this has put South Africa in a constitutional crisis.
He said the EFF will approach the courts to seek an urgent and permanent interdict against the police officers who entered Parliament to remove MPS.
He criticised the use of force on Mashabela and said her removal is illegal.
The EFF leader also accused the African National Congress (ANC) government of censorship.
He said Parliament's TV servers was disconnected to hide the assault of members of the house.
The fracas led to proceedings being abruptly suspended late last night.
There were several angry exchanges between Mbete and the opposition, with MPs shouting "you must go".
At the same time, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has defended National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete saying she is being blamed for unruly behaviour by opposition parties.
Mantashe says the rules of the National Assembly dictate that if you are told to leave the house, you must comply.
The ANC earlier issued a statement c alling the DA a "racist party" and the EFF a "fascist" one.
It also welcomed the report of the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the Nkandla spending.
But the DA's Mmusi Maimane has accused ANC MPs of not having any intention to debate the report.
He said the DA no longer recognises Mbete's authority and said the opposition's confrontational style was an effective strategy aimed at forcing cooperation.
The DA is today expected to lay criminal charges against the South African Police Service in Cape Town.
PARLIAMENT DENIES MPS ASSAULTED
Parliament maintains police were not necessarily called in to throw out unruly members during yesterday's dramatic sitting of the National Assembly.
Police eventually did forcibly remove an EFF MP and allegedly assaulted several other opposition members last night as tensions ran high, but this has been denied.
Parliamentary presiding officers say while yesterday's shenanigans were uncalled for, they have no knowledge of any MP been physically dragged out of the National Assembly or being assaulted.
Parliament's head of security service's Zelda Holtzman says they are expecting detailed reports from police but deny that officers manhandled anyone.
This was echoed by both Mbete and her deputy who maintained the unruly members were merely escorted off the Parliamentary grounds.
Mbete says she is not surprised by yesterday's drama as some MPs have already previously demonstrated their intent to disobey the rules of Parliament.
SANEF DISTURBED BY FEEDS FROM PARLIAMENT
The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) says it's also disturbed by the continuing interference with the audio and visual feeds from Parliament each time chaos breaks out in the National Assembly.
The organisation's Mpumelelo Mkhabela says yesterday's interference precedes two other incidents this year.
"We think it's time that this gets resolved quickly because otherwise we will be providing the public with manipulated information which doesn't serve public interest."
He says the feed was manipulated yesterday to ensure the focus centred on the speaker and as a result the public was robbed of the full picture.