No evidence found against GBV, sexual harassment during EFF's removal from Parliament
An independent investigation appointed by National Assembly speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has found that there was no sexual harassment against parliamentary protection service officers when Economic Freedom Fighters MPs were forcibly removed from chambers on successive days after they disrupted President Cyril Ramaphosa's budget vote in June.
The complaint was laid by EFF chief whip, Floyd Shivambu against the Parliamentary Protection Services, who the party’s female MPs claim sexually harassed them.
Investigation led by advocate Elizabeth Baloyi-Mere found that the removal of the disruptive Members by PPS was characterised by violence on both sides.
‘’The MPs refused to comply with the instructions of the Speaker or ignored the Speaker when it was clear from the rules of the National Assembly that when Members arerequested to leave the Chamber they should do so consistent with the conduct expected of them as per their titles of ‘honourable Members’,’’ said Parliament Spokesperson, Moloto mathapo.
‘’The report also found that the Speaker endeavoured to comply with each and every rule before she could call forMembers to be removed out of the Chamber. The investigation indicates that Members' attitude to the Rules, not the Rules, seemed to be a problem. Adv Baloyi-Mere recommended that the Speaker holds a meeting with all the Chief Whips to ensure that all public representativescomply with, and abides by the Rules of Parliament,’’ he added.
The report also recommended that during any given sitting of Parliament, there should be adequate number of female PPS personnel present, even though they might be other committees that conduct oversight work outside Parliament also requiring their services.
‘’This is based on the investigator's observation that, during the scuffle, there was no adequate capacity from the female component of thePPS members to effectively handle the removal of EFF female MPs. The investigator observed that female PPS members were clearly overpowered by female members of the EFF,’’ said Mathapo.
‘’Furthermore, the report recommended that MPs accord respect to the PPS personnel. This is in light of the serous claims made during the investigation, which were also corroborated by the video footage, relating to abuse, threats and attacks PPS members often suffer from MPs. The independent investigator lamented the disgraceful conduct by some Members of undermining the authority of the PPS personnel and treating them with disrespect and disdain as shown in some of the video footage,’’ he added.
Done By: Mitchum George