The Democratic Alliance (DA) has criticized proposed plans to lavish taxpayers funds on security upgrades in the National Assembly.
The proposed measures follow EFF MPs’ reoccurred security breaches in Parliament; especially in May, when they displayed high leveled hostility towards President Zuma in the National Assembly chambers during the Parliamentary question session.
In May, reports had it that Julius Malema’s two personal bodyguards dressed in white shirts infiltrated the National Assembly; posing as members of parliamentary protection services.
A close examination of video footage; at the sitting showed the men fighting off other members of Parliament’s protection services, in an effort to protect Malema.
Moving on, BuzzSouthAfrica learned that the proposed upgrades include: installation of a drop-down bulletproof glass panel around the public galleries in the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, which will serve as a protection from members of the public sitting in the gallery. Others are the installation of a perimeter fence around Parliament and installation of body scanners at Parliament entrance.
National Assembly Upgrades Too Expensive
Condemning the proposal, Chief Whip of the DA and MP, John Steenhuisen, argued that the projects militate against an effective functioning of the Parliament and would definitely cost an arm and a leg.
Furthermore, the opposition MP reminded all and sundry that Parliament is a public institution, hence, members of the public who wish to sit in the gallery during sittings must not be barred from doing so.
He added: “The parliamentary budget is already overextended, notably through unrestrained and unchecked spending by the Secretary to Parliament, Mr. Gengezi Mgidlana, and costly labour disputes involving the same. We cannot allow dysfunction to take root at this institution.”
He promised to raise and reiterate the party’s dismay at the Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament which is scheduled to hold on 23 September.
Meanwhile, lots of reactions have trailed the proposed security measures. Most people expressed deep concern while others dubbed it “over security”. This is because this latest twist in increasing security will prompt an increase in the number of security officers and may require visitors to carry photo IDs.