Parliament mulls options to bolster security capacity

All political parties except the EFF agree MPs who disrupt proceedings should be physically removed.

FILE: Members of Parliament are expected to meet today to finalise how Parliament deals with disruptions. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's secretary said the legislature is considering all options available to bolster the capacity of its security personnel.

But Gengezi Mgidlana has refused to confirm whether police officers have already been seconded to the Parliamentary protection services.

Members of Parliament (MPs) are expected to meet today to finalise how Parliament deals with disruptions.

All political parties except the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) agree members of the parliamentary protection services should physically remove MPs who disrupt proceedings in the National Assembly.

Mgidlana said he will be directed by Parliamentary processes.

"The committee has indicated very clearly in the earlier discussions that they would want Parliament to beef up its capacity to basically perform the function that is required. So in that respect we'd look at all available options."

Last week, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said Parliament was considering changing rules in the house to allow members to participate in debates without disruptions.

She's held a briefing in Pretoria to address what she's termed a misconception that the rule amendment was being considered to deny specific parties the right to express alternative views.

Mbete referred to the last question and answer session with President Jacob Zuma which was disrupted by the EFF.

She said MPs want their right to represent the people who voted for them protected.

"It cannot be that because you scream the loudest, you are able to have people pay attention to you. You are necessarily voicing the views of everybody."

Last month, Parliament was considering sanctions against defiant EFF MPs who caused Zuma's question and answer session to be abandoned without him uttering a single word.

Mbete adjourned the sitting after two and a half hours of disruption and chants of 'pay back the money'.