South Africa 12.2.2015 09:11 pm

EFF member taken to hospital

At least one Economic Freedom Fighters MP was taken to hospital after being injured during clashes with security officers inside and outside the National Assembly, EFF leader Julius Malema said on Thursday night.

Addressing journalists on the steps of the National Assembly while President Jacob Zuma delivered his state-of-the-nation address in the House, Malema claimed at least seven MPs were injured during the running scuffles.

“Reneilwe Mashabela was held by not less than seven men. One of them was beating her on the face with a shoe,” Malema claimed.

The battered and bruised MPs would be consulting lawyers before opening criminal cases with police, he said.

“Whether they beat us or not, we’ll continue to ask relevant questions,” a defiant Malema said.

“We have seen that we are part of a police state where when people are unable to give political answers, political solutions to political problems, they resort to security apparatus and we’ve always said the ANC has sent South African into a security state, so today it was confirmed.”

Malema himself showed signs of being dragged out of the chamber forcefully.

A white T-shirt — worn under his red overalls — was torn.

Malema and his fellow MPs tried to stand their ground and fought back after security officers — dressed in black pants and white dress shirts — physically removed them from the Chamber.

The officers entered the Chamber after Speaker Baleka Mbete said: “I am asking the Parliament’s protection officers to come in and take out the honourable members…”

Fist fights broke out between party members and the security officers both in the Chamber and outside in the corridor.

The EFF’s hard hats flew across the benches as the members were removed.

“They started with [Godrich Gardee]. They hit him first,” said EFF Western Cape chairman Bernard Joseph.

EFF MP Emmanuel Mtileni said officers manhandled him.

“They grabbed me, they even moered [hit] me,” he said, pointing to his cheekbone.

Officers dragged the MPs towards the Old Assembly and linked hands to bar journalists from going down the stairs.

Mtileni remonstrated with riot police, saying “How can you do that to us? Zuma stole your money too. How can you hit us?”

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said he was grabbed by the throat.

“I don’t know whether they choked me but they cut my voice for a while,” he said.

 

09

today in print