Anthony Benadie heading to Parliament

By Anthony Benadie MPL:

I am proud to announce that I have accepted the opportunity afforded to me by the Democratic Alliance to represent the party, our voters and country in the National Assembly in Parliament.

Serving in Parliament is an honour bestowed on few and I am excited by the opportunity and challenge of serving in our national legislature.
I have served in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature for the past 11 years and as a municipal councillor for four years prior to that. So too, having served as the DA’s Mpumalanga Provincial Leader for almost eight years I look forward to applying my political skill and expertise to the advancement of the DA’s national agenda.

7 May 2015 marks the one year anniversary of the 2014 General elections after which political parties are afforded the opportunity to amend their candidate lists for the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures. Through following the DA’s due process as set out by the provincial and federal structures of the party an amendment to the DA’s parliamentary list will enable my transition from the Provincial Legislature to the National Assembly.

Doing so will at the same time pave the way for our newly elected Provincial Leader James Masango, currently serving in Parliament to return to the Provincial Legislature in order to lead the party and deliver on the mandate afforded to him by the province.

It is also known that I am currently contesting the position of Deputy Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Council who is to be elected by the Federal Council on Sunday 10 May during the DA Federal Congress. If elected to serve in the DA’s Federal Leadership, my serving in Parliament will also enable me to effectively execute my duties with absolute dedication and commitment.

I embrace this opportunity and look forward to working with the DA leadership and colleagues in the DA’s Parliamentary Caucus.

SONA 2015: Phiyega and Lamoer requested to clarify SAPS actions

Dan Plato MP

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

On Friday, 13 February 2015, I formally requested the South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, as well as the SAPS Western Cape Provincial Commissioner, Arno Lamoer, to clarify the police’s actions and interventions during the joint sitting of the National Assembly for President Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on 12 February 2015.

I sent this request after having been made aware of complaints from the general public. These complaints stem from the reporting lines regarding the executive and the legislative arms of government, namely that parliamentary security staff report to parliament and its structures and that SAPS report to the executive, yet in this case, it appears that the SAPS entered the house after the Speaker called for EFF MP’s to be removed, which means that the state-controlled police infringed on the independence of Parliament and violated the South African Constitution.

Various media reports to date have alleged that SAPS officers from various units, including Public Order Police (POP) officers, are said to have been used to remove MPs from parliament.

In terms of my oversight role over the SAPS in the province, I have asked for clarity on:

  • Whether any SAPS members entered the joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces to remove EFF members of parliament,
  • If so, under whose instruction this was done,
  • Which policing unit/division these officers belonged to, and
  • Whether they received training in how to remove MPs from parliament or any additional training in preparation for the State of the Nation Address.

It was also brought to my attention that heavily armed SAPS officers were seen readying in the passages of the National Assembly, outside the chamber, even before the parliamentary proceedings were started. The validity of these claims needs to be confirmed and if true, needs to be explained, particularly, on whose instruction they had gathered outside the chamber, why such extreme measures were adopted and why such an excessive use of force was chosen.

I am equally concerned about the complaints my office received on the excessive use of force by the SAPS leading up to the State of the Nation address outside the parliamentary precinct which resulted in the use of water cannons to disperse people who had gathered peacefully to protest and the violent arrests which followed. I will be taking this matter up with the Provincial SAPS management as well.

I understand that the President’s annual State of the Nation Address requires increased security measures to ensure the safety of the president, executive, judiciary, members of parliament and foreign dignitaries who are gathered in Parliament at the same time. However, Section 205 of the Constitutions clearly defines the objects of the SAPS which include protecting and securing all inhabitants of the Republic and to uphold and enforce the law. It is critical that SAPS is not used as muscle for hire against opposing voices or for party-political gain.

This appears to be what police officers were used for during the State of the Nation address on Thursday night and it is therefore crucial that General Phiyega and Lieutenant-General Lamoer provide answers on this serious matter.