The Rules Committee of the National Assembly, the lower House of the South African Parliament, has adopted new rules which will strengthen security in Parliament and crack down on errant Members of Parliament, in culmination of a process which has taken more than three years.

Some opposition MPs have also expressed concern about the presence of the President Jacob Zuma’s security detail inside the Chamber.

“There must also be a dialogue between Parliament and the presidential protection (service) to inform them that the rules of the House are that there may be no arms on the floor unless there is a threat to life,” said opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party MP Natasha Mazzone here Tuesday.

However, PMs from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party say that members of the presidential protection service have the responsibility to ensure the safety of the president even inside the Chamber.

“The reality is that we have a Parliament which has become quite violent with the head of state in attendance,” said ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu.

Other MPs also raised concern about last week’s fracas in parliament when the president was here to reply to Oral Questions from MPs.

“I believe one of the EFF (opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party) ladies had a brick in her handbag, using it to hit a protection service member over the head with,” said DA MP Mike Waters.

Speaker Baleka Mbete said there was an urgent need to tighten security in Parliament.

The revised rules will now be tabled before the National Assembly on Thursday for possible adoption before they can kick in. EFF MPs were conspicuous by their absence in the rules committee.

The party has been critical of the process which it perceives as targeting its MPs.

Source: Nam News Network