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Tempers flare in Parliament again

Dianne Kohler Barnard says the police’s presence in Parliament last week trampled on freedom of speech.

FILE: Chaos in Parliament last week. Picture: Screengrab EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Tempers have flared in Parliament over Thursday's deployment of armed police in the National Assembly.

A succession of Democratic Alliance (DA) Members of Parliament (MPs) have lashed National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete for allowing police to be sent in to remove an Economic Freedom Fighters member.

A scuffle erupted when fully armed public order police entered the house last week during a heated sitting.

Tempers flared when African National Congress (ANC) MPs objected to motions brought by the opposition in an attempt to delay the tabling of a report on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard has slammed their presence saying it trampled on freedom of speech and was unconstitutional.

"It's disgusting that the chairperson of the ANC saw it fit to deploy police to shut down freedom of speech and beat up DA MPs. The police should be on the streets keeping people safe and arresting criminals."

Kohler Barnard also tackled national Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

"I denounce the unconstitutional invasion of Parliament and I ask the extremely silent Nhleko to say something, where is he?"

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery told MPs the law allows for police to be called in.

"The MPs weren't abiding by the rules a member was asked to go then refused to leave. What else would you do?

Jeffery hit back at the DA for challenging the police.

"Police took it upon themselves to defend Parliament and that's where things went wrong."

The main opposition party has also confirmed it will go ahead with its bid to have a motion of censure against the president, which was adopted in the house.

The party says Zuma should be censured for failing to answer MP's questions four times a year as the rules require him to.

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