EFF: Parliament's security boss & deputy must be reinstated

Parliament suspended Zelda Holtzman and her deputy Matlatsi Mokgatla with immediate effect.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu and Leader Julius Malema. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) want Parliament's Head of Protection Services and her deputy reinstated.

Parliament has suspended Zelda Holtzman and her deputy Matlatsi Mokgatla with immediate effect pending an investigation into what it says are alleged security breaches.

Parliament announced the decision in a short statement on Thursday afternoon.

The suspensions have been implemented to enable the investigation of alleged security breaches and other issues affecting the Parliamentary Protection Services.

The legislature went on to say that the breaches took place in an environment free of any perception of possible bias.

The investigation is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

They were sent packing as the ANC and other opposition parties on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new rule allowing for Members of Parliament (MPs) who disobey the presiding officers to be physically removed from the chamber.

The rule change has been rushed through ahead of President Jacob Zuma's question and answer session in the house next Thursday.

Zuma was last month prevented from answering a single question by EFF MPs chanting 'pay back the money,' a reference to what the Public Protector said he owes on his Nkandla home.

EFF MP Hlengiwe Hlophe said the protection services head and her deputy have been suspended for objecting to the unprocedural employment of South African Police Services to help keep order in the house.

"We as the EFF will call on Parliamentary and for the Parliamentary oversight authority to be urgently convened to reinstate them."

Chief whip Floyd Shivambu claims the police include those in white shirts who evicted EFF MPs during president Zuma's chaotic State of the Nation Address in February.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said 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."

Opposition parties have backed the new rule on the basis that parliament's protection services and not police are used to eject defiant Mps.

NO MORE DISRUPTIONS

The National Assembly has approved a tough new rule allowing for defiant MP who sow chaos to be physically removed from the chamber with the EFF standing alone in their rejection of it.

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