ANC's Mthembu urges Parly to press charges against protesters
Witnesses told Eyewitness News that the group of about 10 people, wearing Satu T-shirts and brandishing placards, refused requests to be quiet and started singing and dancing.
CAPE TOWN - African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu is urging Parliament to press criminal charges against a rowdy group of protesters who disrupted a meeting of the labour committee on Wednesday.
MPs had to duck for cover when the protesters clashed with parliamentary security staff who were called to remove them.
Witnesses told Eyewitness News that the group of about 10 people, wearing Saftu T-shirts and brandishing placards, refused requests to be quiet and started singing and dancing.
Committee members were considering the Bill which will introduce a national minimum wage. Saftu has voiced strong opposition to the proposal that it be set at R20 an hour.
Mthembu has condemned the incident on Twitter, saying it traumatised MPs and that Parliament should press criminal charges.
Yersterday's disruption of the Portfolio Comittee of labour meeting by members of @saftu must be condemned and punished . The saftu members wanted to stop the committee discussing bills before it . The committee only resumed after these thugs were removed by parly security .— Jackson Mthembu (@JacksonMthembu_) May 17, 2018
The dispectable conduct of these @saftu members was also abusive and threatening to MPs . They left a trail of destruction in the parliamentary precinct . Their actions were criminal , we therefore urge parliament to institute and press charges against them .— Jackson Mthembu (@JacksonMthembu_) May 17, 2018
The conduct of these saftu members , which left many MPs traumatized , is an insult and an affront to our hard won democracy . They must be taught a lesson that @ParliamentofRSA is not a play ground for criminals .— Jackson Mthembu (@JacksonMthembu_) May 17, 2018
DA MP Michael Bagraim was there when the incident happened:
“This was in the actual committee meeting – we were all being bumped and pushed.”
Bagraim says tables, chairs and documents were sent flying.
“The table (I was at) was pushed right over – and off went my water and papers.”
Bagraim says that deputy Minister of Labour, Phatekile Holomisa, was ushered to safety in a nearby cafetaria after one of the protesters told Bagraim that Holomisa "deserved a smack".
The meeting later resumed.
Committee chairperson Sharome van Schalkwyk says they won’t be deterred from processing the Bill.