National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has given instructions for a senior police official to be booted from the parliamentary precinct after she prevented MPs from entering the National Assembly ahead of last week’s budget speech and obstructed a journalist from doing his job.
In a letter to the parliamentary Press Gallery Association, dated Thursday, 5 March, Modise said she brought the complaints from opposition MPs and News24 parliamentary reporter Jan Gerber to the attention of Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole.
“I also gave a specific directive for the member of the SAPS, who reportedly harassed several members, and may have also been involved in the incident involving Mr Gerber, to not perform duties within parliament’s precincts forthwith,” Modise said.
“There was an undertaking to treat members of parliament and the public with respect and to co-operate with parliament’s security personnel.”
The speaker said every effort would be made to ensure that the rights of the media and members of parliament were protected.
Gerber, who laid intimidation and assault charges against the brigadier concerned on Monday, welcomed Modise’s actions.
“I look forward to continuing to do my work without fear and favour at parliament. I believe it is important for journalists to do their work at the people’s parliament without interference.”