Parliament sees dramatic clashes twice in 3 weeks

Today, police used stun grenades in an attempt to disperse striking parliamentary staff.

Police fired stun grenades outside Parliament on 11 November 2015 to disperse striking Parliamentary staff affiliated to Nehawu. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - For the second time in three weeks, Parliament has seen clashes between demonstrators and police inside the precinct.

Police used stun grenades in an attempt to disperse striking parliamentary staff earlier this afternoon, but were unsuccessful.

#ParlyStrike Demonstrations continue, in defiance of the court order. RE

Staff affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) downed tools on Monday.

Their main gripe is around the structuring of performance bonuses.

Last month, protesting students pushed their way into the precinct overwhelming police officers during a demonstration over rising tuition fees.

Several people were arrested that day.

WATCH: Rocks, stun grenades & UCT: A historic day at Parliament

Disgruntled staff disrupted a police portfolio committee meeting earlier today, and promised to disrupt other meetings as well.

Police in riot gear then stepped in to disperse a large crowd gathered outside the Old Assembly building, using stun grenades to disperse them.

But the demonstrators regrouped, agitated and defiant.

#ParlyStrke Striking employees shout 'police must go!' RE

Chairperson of Nehawu's branch in Parliament, Sthembiso Tembe said, "No one is going to remove us. We'll remove ourselves when we've decided to go home."

Parliament's management warned yesterday that striking workers risked being removed by police if they protested in the precinct.


Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) asked the National Assembly to adjourn today's parliamentary sitting in light of the strike by staff.

Members of Parliament (MPs) resumed a plenary sitting this afternoon after the chaos outside.

The EFF's Floyd Shivambu insisted, "We cannot be ignorant as public representatives when workers are crying and the police have been brought into the premises to shoot stun grenades and stun dust and all sorts of things."

But the African National Congress' (ANC) Doris Dlakude told the house she had spoken to the workers and their issues would be dealt with and said the house should continue with the business of the day.

"We cannot have a situation, where some parties like the EFF want to hijack everything that is under the sun. The issues of the workers are being attended to by the management of Parliament."