MPs vote in favour of physically removing ‘unruly’ members

The vote went 307 in favour with just 16 votes against, no abstentions and EFF vehemently opposing it.

FILE: Members of the Parliament look on as members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, wearing red uniforms, clash with security forces during South African President's State of the Nation address in Cape Town on 12 February, 2015. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has approved a new rule that will allow for unruly Members of Parliament (MPs) to be physically ejected from the chamber.

The African National Congress (ANC) and opposition parties voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new rule, which has been rushed through ahead of President Jacob Zuma's appearance in the National Assembly next week to answer MPs' questions.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was vehemently opposed to the rule change.

The party's Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu said, "We do not have a problem if those who are physically threatening the security of other MPs or of the facilities here are removed physically. But for something you say with your mouth; you can't remove an elected MP physically."

But the red berets had no support from other opposition parties, and the vote went 307 in favour with just 16 votes against and no abstentions.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says the Parliamentary Protection Services won't include members of the police.

"So never again will the members of the security services be here to remove the members of this chamber for things that they have said. We will have an independent Parliamentary Protection Service."

After much wrangling this week over whether police officers could be seconded to the protection services as an interim measure, the ANC agreed to remove the provision which would allow for SAPS members to enter the chamber.

Rule 53A allows for the Parliamentary Protection Services to physically remove unruly MPs from the chamber.