EFF: 'Post-Sona altercation was distraction to carry out attack on Malema'

In a statement, the red berets say the Parliamentary Security Service has been infiltrated by right-wingers trying to kill its leader, Julius Malema.

A screengrab of EFF MPs confronting Parliament security staff after President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address on 7 February 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says that the altercation after the State of the Nation Address (Sona) was a distraction for people to carry out an attack on party leader Julius Malema.

In a statement, the red berets say the Parliamentary Security Service has been infiltrated by right-wingers trying to kill its leader.

A video sent to Eyewitness News shows Malema in an apparent altercation with a parliamentary police officer.

The footage also shows EFF MP Marshall Dlamini slapping an official, later identified as warrant officer Johan Carstens.

EFF national spokesperson Veronica Mente says the Police Minister Bheki Cele is well informed of the danger posed on Malena’s life.

“Even on Thursday, he was still under the same security, but these attacks continue to change direction and angle because when they fail in their initial plan they try a new one. But everything else is in the hands of the police.”

WATCH: EFF MP slaps an unidentified man in the post-Sona altercation

Parliament, though, says that it did not receive any report of a security threat against any Member of Parliament (MP) ahead of Thursday night’s Sona.

Parliament’s presiding officers say they are outraged and disappointed by the shameful conduct of EFF MP Marshall Dlamini, who has been caught on camera slapping a police officer, who was trying to prevent the lobby of the National Assembly from getting too crowded after MPs exited the chamber.

Warrant Officer Johan Carstens has now opened an assault case after he was attacked.

At least two other officers say that Malema injured them pushing through the cordon.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says: “As the presiding officers, we condemn in the strongest terms the behaviour of the EFF MP, which is inconsistent with what is expected of honourable Members of Parliament, who are supposed to be exemplary at all times.”

He says that Parliament takes security very seriously on this occasion.

“Parliament is a highly guarded area, especially during the State of the Nation Address. Appropriate security measures are in place because that’s one of the rare occasions, where the three arms of the state, very important guests and members of the public converge at the precinct of Parliament.”

Additional reporting by Lindsay Dentlinger.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)