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R2K condemns use of force in Parliament

R2K has joined the chorus of condemnation of Parliament’s conduct during last week’s Sona.

FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema (C) and members of his party clash with security forces. Captain Walter Prins is seen in the black suit manhandling Malema during the Sona on February 12, 2015. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Right to Know campaign has joined the chorus of condemnation of Parliament's conduct during last week's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The organisation's Dale McKinley has slammed the use of non-Parliamentary security to expel members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) prior to the President's speech on Thursday.

Some members of the EFF were badly assaulted when they were forcibly removed from the House by members believed to be from the Public Order Policing Unit.

McKinley fears such abuse of Parliamentary privilege will become the norm if stern action is not taken.

"Parliament is not an area where the the ruling party can just basically make decisions or the Speaker of Parliament to call in armed members of the police in order to do their beating, in this case, evict Members of Parliament they don't agree with. And it really does set a very bad precedent."

'CONSPIRACY THEORY'

As questions remain over the jamming of the cellphone signa l, some cabinet ministers say the allegations are nothing more than a conspiracy theory.

The International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster held a briefing in Parliament on Sunday, to elaborate on plans mentioned in Sona.

But the focus quickly turned to the chaos that preceded the president's speech.

Ministers in the cluster all agreed that the signal jamming was a mere technical glitch.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane says it's not uncommon.

"Technical glitches happen everywhere. We all want to know what happened and let's take it easy."

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says he was equally surprised not to have signal.

"Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa made it very clear that the ANC was not happy with what appeared to be a signal jamming."

Media houses now want to take the matter to court, saying the signal was definitely jammed.