Mbete calls for full report after protest at Parly labour committee meeting

Witnesses have told Eyewitness News the group refused requests to be quiet as the committee was discussing the National Minimum Wage Bill.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Radio 702

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has called for a full report on the disruption of Parliament’s labour committee after a protest by Saftu members.

Witnesses have told Eyewitness News the group refused requests to be quiet as the committee was discussing the National Minimum Wage Bill and then clashed with parliamentary security, who were called in to remove them.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu has condemned the incident on Twitter, saying it traumatised MPs and that Parliament should press criminal charges.

Democratic Alliance 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 Deputy Minister of Labour Phatekile Holomisa was ushered to safety in a nearby cafeteria 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.

Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven has told EWN the force used to eject the protesters was “unjustified” and that they were there to ask questions about the bills before the committee.

"We believe that an investigation is needed into these security people, who clearly used excessive force against peaceful, orderly demonstrators."

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)