Assault on democracy as Parliamentary bouncers remove journalists from meeting

Issued by Leon Basson MP – DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation
18 Oct 2018 in News

The DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, objecting to the draconian measures deployed by Parliament yesterday to close a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation.

Journalists gathering to hear a briefing into the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation into the multi-billion rand corruption in the Department were escorted out of the venue by as many as ten Parliamentary bouncers, or “chamber support officers”.

The meeting was closed after the SIU, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) invoked the sub judice rule, arguing that the details of their briefing would compromise the successful prosecution of those involved in the massive graft.

The DA protested the decision to close the meeting and still contend that it amounts to media censorship and an assault on democracy. Indeed, the committee was presented with nothing new and nothing that justified the decision to close the meeting.

The enormous corruption at the Department of Water and Sanitation during the tenure of then-Minister Nomvula Mokonyane cannot be hidden from public view and certainly not from the People’s Parliament.

The Legislature has an important role to play in exercising oversight over the Executive. This cannot be done behind closed doors guarded by burly security guards.