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DA slams use of cops on MPs

The DA is challenging laws allowing police to forcibly remove parliamentarians from the chambers.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema along with MPs being escorted out of Parliament on 12 February 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s lawyer on Monday argued police shouldn't have been allowed to remove or arrest Members of Parliament (MPs) for things they said in Parliament.

The official opposition approached the Western Cape High Court to challenge legislation that allowed police to forcibly remove Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MP)s from the National Assembly chamber.

They were given the boot for disrupting President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in February.

Police, dressed in plain clothes, dragged out the EFF's parliamentary caucus after MPs repeatedly asked the president when he intended on repaying money spent on upgrading his private Nkandla homestead.

The DA argued in court on Monday that section 11 of the Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act was constitutionally flawed.

The party said it violated privileges MPs had against arrest.

The DA says parliamentarians shouldn't be arrested for things they say, produce or submit in the national legislature.

Advocate Sean Rosenberg, acting on behalf of the DA, told the Cape Town court calling security personnel to remove elected representatives can only send a message that the executive is able and willing to use force to resolve political disputes.

Parliament's lawyer argued that the National Assembly speaker was empowered to call in security services if the disturbance warranted such action.