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.

FILE: African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Jackson Mthembu. Picture: AFP

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.

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.