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DA heads to court over ‘securitisation and militarisation of Parliament’

By News24 10 February 2017

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance is heading to court in a bid to have the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members for non-ceremonial purposed declared unconstitutional.

This after a number of soldiers were seen milling around Parliament on Thursday during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), ahead of violence breaking out in the National Assembly.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Friday that the party had instructed its lawyers to file an application in the Western Cape High Court seeking the declaration.

This was to ensure the “gradual securitisation and militarisation of Parliament is halted once and for all”.

“Our court action is to ensure the integrity of Parliament is restored, and that we can make the work of Parliament about the people of South Africa once more. It ought to be an institution in which we can fight for the poor and the excluded. And an institution which vigorously holds power to account,” Maimane said.

The DA’s James Selfe said there was evidence that some of the people who had been deployed inside the National Assembly to eject the EFF were members of the SAPS.

“That would be in violation of a previous court case that we won. If that is the case, then there is serious contempt of court which occurred last night,” he said.

He said it came to their attention that there had been armed military police inside the precinct, which they felt was in violation of the act.

“We want the court to hold those responsible for that deployment accountable, for allowing such troops on the precinct.”

Selfe said something had gone seriously wrong during the State of the Nation Address.

“Unless we draw the line in the sand now, the subject of creeping militarisation of the sort last seen during the infamous reign of PW Botha. We take this matter very seriously,” he said.

Their affidavit, filed in the Western Cape High Court, only included some aspects of their concerns of what had happened during SONA, Selfe said.

The DA had reserved the right to supplement it should other matters come to their attention, Selfe said. DM

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