EFF says Dlamini acted to protect Malema during post-Sona altercation

Party spokesperson Vernonica Mente says Malema and other EFF MPs were blocked from exiting through a certain door despite other parties going through.

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 it was protecting its leader Julius Malema amid threats to his life when Member of Parliament (MP) Mashall Dlamini slapped a policeman in Parliament after the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The party has made claims that there is an assassination plot against Malema and that police have been informed.

The Police Ministry has since confirmed that the threat was in fact reported.

Party spokesperson Veronica Mente says Malema and other EFF MPs were blocked from exiting through a certain door despite other parties going through.

“And when we tried to tell him to stand aside, can you allow the president to go and do the interviews because the media is waiting outside, they want to hear what his take on the Sona.

“The next thing the guy was charging for him, pulling him with his clothes, pulling him his arms and telling him that he can’t go through that door and he was doing so violently.”

She says another security officer intervened despite the actions of warrant officer Johan Carstens who was slapped.

“So, his security guard had to struggle to separate the security officer from the CIC and that’s when Marshall Dlamini came in as head of security who was also protecting the president at the time.

“He has to come and push and remove the guy towards the other door so that the CIC can go to the other side where he was supposed to be headed.”

But the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Phumzile van Damm says all MPs were directed not to exit the door in question but claims that Malema tried to push his way through.

Parliamentary officials are studying CCTV footage.

WATCH: EFF MP slaps a cop in the post-Sona altercation

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

Mente said the Police Minister Bheki Cele is well informed of the danger posed on Malema’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.”

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

Parliament’s presiding officers say they are outraged and disappointed by the shameful conduct of 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.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said: “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 said 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.”