The meeting began with a briefing by the Secretary of Parliament on the proposed rule 53A, in preparation for presentation to the Rules Committee on 28 July 2015. The Rules Committee had previously tasked the Subcommittee with dealing with the practicalities of the process for removal of a Member from the Chamber, if s/he was disruptive, in a manner that would ensure the process was lawful and reasonable. The briefing highlighted that the Committee would need to consider the following subrules:
- Subrule 3: which provided for the automatic suspension of Member upon being forcefully removed from the Chamber
- Subrule 6, a new addition which provided for another Member who interfered with the removal of the first Member to be removed as well
- Subrule 7, with the Committee being asked to recommend whether the sitting of the House should be suspended, or whether other Members were to remain seated while a Member was being removed.
During discussion, Members raised several concerns. There was discussion around the renaming and defining of the parliamentary guard; although security services were constitutionally defined, the DA was firm that this body should not enter the Chamber to effect removal of Members, and equally that the parliamentary protection services should not act in the gallery. There was substantial discussion whether the practice of the Serjeant-at-Arms bowing to the presiding officers to indicate that a Members refused to leave and that alternative action was required was too ambiguous. Whilst Members noted that a Serjeant-at-Arms was not allowed to participate in debates, many felt it would be acceptable for that person to state audibly that the Member refused to leave, whilst others believed that this would be obvious. Members eventually agreed that a gesture could still be used to indicate Members' refusal but the presiding officer should announce (for the written record) that parliamentary protection services would be called in. Members further debated the legality of removal and automatic suspension of one Member interfering with the removal of another Member, noting that "interference" was ambiguous, questioning whether it would apply to whips questioning points of procedure or seeking permission from the presiding officer to speak to their member.
Parliamentary Legal Services then provided a legal opinion on the authority of Parliament to remove Members, and the legality of automatic suspension. This concluded that section 11 of the Powers and Privileges Act, Parliament had the authority to remove a Member, although this had not been directly dealt with in the recent court case brought by the DA in relation to removals. It was stressed that this was not an arrest, but a removal for the sake of the orderly functioning of the House. The question of the constitutionality of automatic suspension of Members consequent to a forceful removal was less clear; the Legal Services thought that it maybe constitutional but this was yet to be tested in court. Removal of a Member’s salary or access to parliamentary facilities following a removal from the Chamber may be more problematic as procedural fairness and audi alteram partem would need to be observed.
The Chairperson asked that Members address each point of the Standard Operating Procedures, which had been circulated. Again, the question of removal from the Chamber and removal from the precincts was raised, along with clarity being sought on who was to escort Members from the premises. Differing views were expressed whether suspension of the House (to resume later in the day) or adjournment (no further hearings on that day) were appropriate, but most Members concluded that the presiding officer should have a discretion, except where violence was involved, an instance when security services could intervene, even in the Chamber.
The drafting team was asked to redraft the provisions, and circulate them to Members for comment. The Subcommittee would meet prior to the Rules Committee meeting on 28 July, to familiarise itself with the wording to be proposed.
Chairperson's introductory remarks
The Chairperson noted that some of the issues being discussed today had been before the Rules Committee previously, which had referred them back to the Subcommittee.
Mr Perran Hahndiek, Committee Secretary, noted apologies from three opposition and one ANC Members, who were conducting oversight, including in loco inspections at Nkandla.
The Chairperson asked when the DA workshop on the comprehensive review of the Rules of the National Assembly (the Rules) was to be held.
Ms N Mazzone (DA) replied that it was ongoing.
The Chairperson said the ANC workshop on Chapters 1 to 15 would be held on 30 and 31 July. He was also aware that the IFP and EFF workshops were ongoing. Now that all parties were working on the Rules, he hoped these could be finalised by the end of August, if parties' input was directed more to the language than the substance of the changes to the Rules, with the final draft then being ready to be presented to the National Assembly Rules Committee in September. If the Rules Committee agreed on the proposals, they would then be presented for decision to the full House. He pointed out that much of the work completed in this process had already begun in 2012 and the Fifth Parliament would surely adopt the new Rules. The Subcommittee had done its level best to work through the proposals, and the outcomes of the various party workshops were now awaited. He believed that there may be some Members who would make proposals on some matters, but he did not think it would be outside the ambit of what had been discussed in the Subcommittee.
He reminded Members that the Rules Committee mandated the Subcommittee to deal with the present set of interim Rules. The Secretary of the National Assembly, Mr Masibulele Xaso, had been invited to highlight the main issues which were raised by the Rules Committee. Having heard those, parties would be invited to present their views on issues raised. Parliamentary support staff and Legal Services were also present to advise on any matters which required further clarity. All parties save for the EFF represented in the Rules Committee had agreed on the broad principles of the proposal to be presented. The EFF objected on the grounds that it was inappropriate to focus on one rule out of the entire Rule book, and felt that instead, the Rules should be finalised in their entirety and then presented as a whole. The interim nature of the present provisions could perhaps accommodate this objection. The Rules Committee instructed the Subcommittee to deal with the modality of how these rules would be applied in practice. He then asked Mr Xaso to make his presentation.
Discussion document on proposed Rule 53A: Secretary of Parliament's briefing
Mr Masibulele Xaso, Secretary to the National Assembly, said a document had been circulated, entitled Updated Discussion Document, which attempted to highlight the matters raised by the Rules Committee. Page 5 attempted to update these rules in line with what had been raised. The Rules Committee agreed in principle with the submission of the Subcommittee and mandated it to refine the document, and re-present it once finalised. The Rules Committee was scheduled to meet the following week, on 28 July 2015.
Mr Xaso said that the key issues included the included the fact that the protection services of Parliament needed to be capacitated. When a Member was removed from the House in this manner there should be a report on the circumstances around such removal, to a multi-party structure. Related to this, he commented that the appeal procedure in relation to rulings by presiding officers needed to be clarified and perhaps strengthened. When dealing with the review of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act (Powers and Privileges Act) the role of security services in the Chamber of Parliament (the Chamber) needed to be clarified. The EFF objected to the proposed rules and the standard operational procedure (SOP), arguing that instead a comprehensive review of the Rules must be attended to holistically, rather than adopting a piecemeal approach and taking certain rules in isolation. The EFF also held the view that no Member should be removed under the direction of the presiding officer, unless a due process was followed. A request was also made for Parliamentary Legal Services to provide an opinion on Parliament’s authority to remove Members from the House. This had been prepared and the Parliamentary Legal Services officials were present to speak to the document.
Mr Xaso said he did not want to repeat what was presented previously and would therefore proceeded to page 6 of the document, which set out a proposal for update of the rules as requested; the rule was likely to be numbered as Rule 53A. Under subrule (1) there was only one small change, the addition of the word "forthwith" at the end of the sentence. Subrule (2) had not been changed since the last time it was before the Subcommittee. With regard to subrule (3) a concern was raised about the automatic suspension of a Member and Parliamentary Legal Services was requested to provide an opinion, which had been presented previously. This was a matter which the Subcommittee was now tasked with and would have to finalise, before these updated Rules were presented.
Mr Xaso explained that there were two views on this proposal. One held that the procedure would be contrary to just administrative action. The other was that perhaps this provision ought to be tested in court, because the Rules currently provided for the suspension of Members without any due process. It was a provision which was in the current rules; the courts had commented on it, but to his knowledge it was not a matter on which they commented negatively.
For subrule (4) which dealt with a situation where a Member was to be removed from the Chamber, there were two options. The first allowed the parliamentary protection services to use minimum force to remove the Member. The second specified that it may use “such force as may reasonably be necessary to overcome any resistance”. There was a sense that the second option was preferred, and should be included.
No changes were effected to subrule (5). Subrule (6) was a new addition. This noted that if one Member interfered with the removal of another Member, that first Member shall also be removed, under the direction of the presiding officer. This rule intended to cater for a situation where other Members attempted to obstruct the removal of a Member. Initially the view regarding subrule (7) was that where a Member was to be removed from the Chamber, proceedings would be suspended and all Members would vacate the Chamber. However, an alternative view had been suggested, which would require Members to remain seated and for the passages to be vacated. Subrule (8) empowers the House to approve standard operating procedures.
Mr Xaso said section D of the document contained these standard operating procedures. The only change here was in respect of item 6. Initially the view held was that the removal of members of the public from the gallery would only be effected by parliamentary protection services. Later, it was proposed that security services should be allowed to intervene in the gallery and outside the Chamber, but not inside the Chamber. Therefore, the provision now empowered the security services to intervene in the gallery.
Item 7 reflected a stylistic change. Instead of reading that security services may intervene, it now read “and members of the security services may intervene”. He clarified that this would apply in instances of violence ensuing in the House. Item 8 deals required both security services and protection services to be unarmed when entering the Chamber under the direction of the presiding officer.
The Chairperson asked the Members for comment and said that any changes ought to be merely changes of language or style, rather than content.
Ms Mazzone said that in some areas she felt that the language being used was a little clumsy. The Subcommittee must be careful in its wording of how the removal of Members was to be regulated. This was agreed upon in both the Subcommittee and the Rules Committee. She assumed there would be a definition of parliamentary protection services, which indicated that they were not the police, but a separate entity functioning as a parliamentary guard, while security services should be clarified as being the police. The reason she said this was that on the last occasion of a forced removal from the House, she had taken photographs, which were produced in evidence, of “white shirted policemen entering the Chamber, who had guns with them”. She added that “they were also sitting in the Chamber, where the judiciary normally sits, happily showing the opposition that they had their guns on them”. This sort of occurrence must never be allowed to be repeated. Therefore, clarity on what parliamentary protection services were was necessary; she added that the term had also changed, to parliamentary guard. It was good that the Serjeant-at-Arms may use reasonable force, but she asked who will train the incumbents. She requested when the parliamentary guard would be established, because her understanding was that these new Rules needed to come into force as soon as possible, until the comprehensive review had been finalised. She wanted to know whether a start had been made on forming the parliamentary guard, and by when it would be operational, asking that Mr Xaso should give guidance on that aspect.
Ms Mazzone was glad to see the proposal under subrule (7) that Members must remain seated until the Member had been removed from the Chamber. With respect to the Serjeant-at-Arms, there was almost a guarantee that the present Serjeant-at-Arms would be overpowered and therefore there was likely to be a situation where a Member refused to leave. It is unreasonable to expect that, in the midst of such likely chaos, the Speaker would be looking at the Serjeant-at-Arms waiting for her to bow. She asked if the Serjeant-at-Arms was expected to direct this procedure and who would be in charge of the parliamentary guard - the Serjeant-at-Arms or the Speaker? It would be important that it be clearly known who the person would be who will direct the parliamentary guard to come into the House. On the last occasion when the police were called in, the Speaker, Serjeant-at-Arms and the Chief Whip all denied that they had given authorisation. Therefore, there was a need for a clear identification of what the various roles were. If the Serjeant-at-Arms was to be in charge, why then must that person indicate the intention to the Speaker? She agreed that it was appropriate for the security services to enter the public gallery, as it was not the sacrosanct floor of Parliament, and this was where the most danger to Members would potentially be.
Mr Booi said he thought that the Chairperson would allow the legal opinion to be presented before Members commented. A decision was still to be made, and he pointed out that no one had decided yet whether the name of the service will be "parliamentary guard" or "protection services". It was not merely because of the incident that took place, but because of the parliamentary system in place, that Members did not want to get rid of the Serjeant-at-Arms. This position was traditionally found in Parliament, and the Serjeant-at-Arms had a defined role to play. Unless it was indicated that the position was no longer relevant in the system, he felt the role of the Serjeant-at-Arms should be retained, to assist the presiding officer.
Mr Booi thought that the major decision was made by the Speaker, in communication with the Serjeant-at-Arms, who would indicate the problem to the Speaker and take guidance from that person.
Looking at page 5, under subrule (3), Mr Booi expressed the view that there should be clarity on the automatic removal of Members, as he felt that the Subcommittee could not rely on reaching a consensus position and would have to rely on the legal background. The EFF was very strong on this point and said it would take the matter of automatic removals, without any due process, to court, particularly on the point that it had suggested that automatically removing a second Member, consequent to a first Member’s action, would not stand up to legal scrutiny anywhere. He urged that the basis of the removal must be clarified, because a Member could find a reasonable or a petty excuse for standing up during a disturbance. Allowing the protection services to interfere with one Member because, in the opinion of the presiding officer, s/he was interfering with the removal of another Member, was tenuous. He suggested that there should be a solid concept of the type of behaviour which would lead to the presiding officer having grounds to order such a removal. It would not be fair for Members to be removed when they were trying to stand aside from a disturbance caused by other Members. It must be remembered that this was to be a rule for the whole House, and if it was not clear, then it could cause legal problems. He therefore wanted Legal Services to come up with a solution around how this process could be used to protect other Members, whilst still allowing the presiding officer to take action. If the rule was to "operate on generalities", then it may create a problem for all Members. Furthermore, subrule (6) allowed for the removal of one Member interfering with the removal of another Member. What would constitute interference could not be clear until what would warrant removal had been clarified. He remembered that, on the occasion of the previous removal of Members, Members of the DA had stood in solidarity with the removed Members, because they had felt that the presiding officer’s ruling was unfair. He questioned whether this kind of action would, under this proposal, also warrant removal. He did not want the protection guard to have its own powers to take action. The protection services should only be allowed to act under the instruction of the presiding officer, where together a decision was needed that a larger number of Members needed to be removed. This process would have to operate entirely differently from the removal of a single Member. He added that there was also a need to deal with the details of the rest of the Rules, so that when the rules were adopted, the Secretary of Parliament would be able to inform Members about the state of preparedness of Parliament to deal with any rowdiness in the House.
Ms S Kalyan (DA) noted that it seemed that a job description was being created "on the go" for the Serjeant-at-Arms. She asked if the Serjeant-at-Arms was responsible for discipline in the Chamber, as the head of the protection services, or whether this was rather a ceremonial function with some powers directed by the Speaker, to assist the presiding officer with the matters on the floor. She would like to know what the conventions were in other Parliament. Secondly, in relation to subrule (4) set out on page 5, she noted that this indicated that such force as may be reasonably necessary to overcome any resistance could be used. She questioned who would decide what level of force would be necessary. There needed to be consistency about what "reasonable force" means.
In relation to subrule (7), which required Members to remain seated and keep the passages clear, she wanted to know who was to do this clearing - whether it was to be the role of the whips or the protection officers? She said she had been literally picked up and moved aside by “the security people”.
Ms Kalyan noted that page 6 indicated that the Serjeant-at-Arms would bow to the Speaker to indicate that a Member was refusing to leave the Chamber. The gesture of bowing was unclear. She questioned how the presiding officers would know what action to take, following the bow. She felt the Serjeant-at-Arms ought rather to audibly articulate that a Member was refusing to leave the House, because she felt that bowing and gesturing would not be appropriate. Finally, she wanted to reiterate the point of Ms Mazzone that the training requirements of the parliamentary guard needed to be clarified.
Mr Kasper Hahndiek, Former Secretary of Parliament and Consultant to the Subcommittee, said that apart from the legal opinion about removing Members from the Chamber, he felt that a legal opinion was also required on the status of the parliamentary protection services. Section 199 defined what security services were in existence, and if there was going to be another service not mentioned in that section, then there may need to be empowering legislation or at least something set through parliamentary policy. This would also go to clarifying the role of such a parliamentary protection service. In terms of process, he explained that previously, from the point where a Member refused to leave consequent to the order of the presiding officer, the Serjeant-at-Arms would have simply requested the Member and escorted him/her out of the Chamber. He agreed with Ms Kalyan that gesturing would be inappropriate and that it would be better for the Serjeant-at-Arms to audibly say to the offending Member that continuing to refuse to leave the Chamber was a serious offence which could be punishable under the Powers and Privileges Act by three years imprisonment. He felt it would be useful to inform an offending Member of the possible consequences of refusal to leave the Chamber at that point. If the Member continued to refuse, then the Speaker would then have to give the instruction to call in the appropriate services, whoever they may be. Where they were called upon, the parameters of their actions would be pre-determined - such as, for example, the manner in which they conducted themselves, whether they were armed and the number of services members who entered the Chamber in relation to the nature of the disturbance.
Mr Hahndiek disagreed with Ms Mazzone’s view that the Members should remain seated, particularly where the disturbance had been caused by more than one Member. Where events had reached the the point where a Member had to be forcibly removed from the Chamber, steps would be needed to avoid the House becoming "a theatre", and in order to protect the image and dignity of the House, it would be appropriate to suspend the business of the House, and for other Members to vacate, leaving only the recalcitrant Members to be dealt with. This would allow the recalcitrant Members to be removed without the possibility of other Members interfering or any other problems. There was an assumption that the offending Member would remain at his or her seat and other Members would crowd around, but it was also possible that the recalcitrant Member may “go on the run”. The present procedure opened up opportunities for seriously problematic behaviour. For these reasons, he was of the view that suspending the Parliamentary sitting and allowing protection services to remove the offending Member seemed the right way to conduct the process.
Mr Hahndiek the commented on the automatic suspension of Members for refusing to leave .He thought “the concern of the EFF was the question of no pay”. Under correction, he thought that the EFF representatives had conceded that the House could be brought to the point where a Member needed to be physically removed. Where the suspension was without pay, then the EFF argued that in the process of such suspension administrative justice must be observed. Lastly, he said the rules in the comprehensive draft of the Rules provided for the presiding officers to switch off the microphones. He suggested that a better way would be to have all the microphones switch off when the presiding officer’s microphone switched on, that Members would be made aware of this and this should prevent Members running to various microphones trying to find out which one might still be live. This should not be done as a punitive measure, but as a matter of course, as the presiding officer should always be heard with silence from other Members. He had understood that in one instance, EFF Members "rushed to the podium microphone, thinking it was the only live one” and this was way beyond what could be deemed acceptable in any Chamber.
Authority of Parliament to Remove Members from the Chamber: Parliamentary Legal Advisor's briefing
Adv Frank Jenkins, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said he felt that the legal opinion had been discussed in substance at the previous meeting of the Subcommittee in June. The question whether parliamentary protection services had the authority to remove Members from the Chamber was answered in the affirmative in the opinion. He explained that this was quite simply because under section 11 of the Powers and Privileges Act, the presiding officer was empowered to instruct the security services or a member of staff to arrest or remove someone from the Chamber. The DA's court case against the Speaker in relation to section 11 did not deal with the parliamentary protection services, but dealt with whether a person could be arrested for creating a disturbance. Parliamentary privilege, under the Constitution, ensured that Members could not be arrested for anything which was said, produced or submitted to the Assembly, or anything revealed as a result. Parliament had appealed that judgement, because it felt that there should be a different interpretation of these provisions. The legal opinion expressed the view that during a removal, there was no arrest being effected, but that rather the Member was being removed to foster order in the Chamber. This was permissible because there was legislative authority for it, and it did not go against the interpretation of the Constitution in the judgment.
Adv Jenkins agreed with Mr Kasper Hahndiek's views on the suspension of Members and just administrative action. Wherever people’s rights were being affected, administrative action would be at play and certain requirements must be observed, including audi alteram partem - which required the affected party to be heard before his or her rights could be taken away. If the Speaker was instructing parliamentary protection services to remove a Member, due to a disturbance, it must be remembered that the right to be a Member and to speak in the House was always subject to the Rules, although these could be challenged. He felt that in the context of removal that was the direct result of a Member causing disturbances or defying the instructions of the presiding officers, there was no need to listen to the affected Member.
In relation to the automatic suspension for increasing periods ,he agreed with Mr Xaso, that the courts had not said anything negative about this, although it had not been directly tested. He was not prepared to state that this process would definitely pass constitutional muster, but he felt it might.
Adv Jenkins commented that in relation to the salaries and facilities of Members, there may be an issue. This issue was raised in the other EFF matter, where the legality of the Powers and Privileges Committee was challenged. The issues that Members may not being able to access their offices to get in contact with their constituencies was alluded to as problematic, but it was not really delved into, and therefore there it must be treated with caution. While Members not being able to access facilities, including flight facilities, may be problematic, the removal of a Member in order to instil order in the House was quite acceptable.
Ms Mazzone said she accepted Mr Hahndiek’s contrary view, but pointed out that if the proceedings of the House had been suspended, then no Member may be removed, because the House was not in sitting and therefore this could be an exercise in futility. The reason that the DA, in the Rules Committee, had said that Members ought to stay seated was precisely to prevent other Members from interfering. She said she knew what it meant to interfere with the removal of Members, because she had been one of the Members doing so on the previous occasion. The protection services would have to be trained to either protect Members with a human barrier, or to move Members who were close to the violence. If all the Members were required to leave, then it could be utter chaos.
Deliberations on the proposed rule 53A (1)-(8)
The Chairperson said the proposal on Rule 53A had been taken to the Rules Committee, who had agreed with it. The Rules Committee instructed the Subcommittee to deal with the modalities of removing a person from the Chamber and also to ensure the language used was within the bounds of the law of South Africa. The Subcommittee should not revisit something which the Rules Committee had already agreed upon in principle (with only one dissenting party.) He reiterated that this would be an interim arrangement and when the comprehensive review of all Rules was completed then the arrangement would fall away, to be replaced by the final rule. The Subcommittee may end up discussing exactly what was presented to the Rules Committee, which had already been accepted. Any parties not present today should not later try to present something which was completely different from what was agreed upon in the Rules Committee.
He noted that, as was raised by the EFF, the Subcommittee should try to avoid amending the Rules ad hoc, but he repeated that it had been agreed that this matter could be dealt with in the interim. When the entire new Rule book was accepted by the Chamber, the rule may fall away or be incorporated into the final product. With subrules (1) to (8) being generally accepted, except for issues around the parliamentary protection services' name and the outstanding legal opinion on suspension , the Subcommittee was now called upon to deal with this procedure. If the Rules Committee met on Tuesday 28 July, the Subcommittee should present its reviewed procedure and the final drafts of the rules. He thus did not think the Subcommittee would have another opportunity to meet to discuss the present matter. The comprehensive review of the Rules was under way and the draft had been submitted to parties, which might still lead to proposals on the rules under discussion. As he understood Adv Jenkins, suspension of a Member that was automatic and without pay may be unfair, but removal from the Chamber for the sake of order would be acceptable.
The Chairperson said that one point raised in the Rules Committee was that when these rules were accepted, there would not be a capacitated parliamentary protection service. This was an issue referred to the Subcommittee, which was tasked with finding suitable language to cover that gap. The need for existence of parliamentary protection services was generally accepted, and the Subcommittee should work to present a stop-gap solution. The Chairperson asked whether Members were happy with the wording and principle of proposed subrule (1).
Mr Xaso said Ms Kalyan had raised the issue of the job description of the Serjeant-at-Arms. There was no comprehensive list of such functions, but Rule 156 hinted at some of these functions, for it currently read: “where instructed by the presiding officer, the Serjeant-at-Arms must remove or arrange for the removal of any person”. However, this was not in relation to Members. The current proposals in relation to Members would thus be creating an additional task for the Serjeant-at-Arms. There was, however, an accepted convention, in this and other Parliaments, that the Serjeant-at-Arms would assist the presiding officer in effecting the removal of a Member.
Mr Hahndiek confirmed Ms Kalyan’s definition of Serjeant-at-Arms, because it was a ceremonial function and the Serjeant-at-Arms represented the authority of the Speaker ,and had the responsibility to communicate instructions of the Speaker to Members on the floor when necessary. This extended to the parliamentary precincts, because the Serjeant-at-Arms must escort removed Members from the precincts. If there were disturbances in Committee meetings this would be the official body called upon to find a solution.
Ms Kalyan noted that point 11 on page 3 of the legal opinion referred to the security policy of Parliament. This stated that security was established to render protection and security services to Parliament, and was headed by a security manager. She wanted to know what interaction occurred between these people and the Serjeant-at-Arms. She was also trying to get a feel of the chain of command to be followed where a Member was to be removed. She did not believe a gesture should be used for the Serjeant-at-Arms to communicate with the presiding officer, because this could not be recorded on Hansard. She also wanted to know more about the line of command between the presiding officer and the security manager.
Mr Hahndiek said the Serjeant-at-Arms was a functionary of the National Assembly and acted under the command of the presiding officer of the National Assembly. The protection services were meant for both Houses. The security service manager would not have any direct authority for carrying out the directive issued by a presiding officer of a House. The Serjeant-at-Arms would be conveying the instructions of the presiding officer.
Mr Booi said he felt two things need to be clarified for the Rules Committee. One was the process of authority, and he said that if this was not clarified, the Subcommittee would have failed to carry out its mandate. Secondly, he felt that the main issue was not around security services being in the House, but rather to look consistently at the rights of Members in the House, and how much interference with these rights would be acceptable. Allowing disruptions would mean that other Members were not being provided with the opportunity of articulating what they had prepared for that day. Those who seek to disrupt the House would thus be coming away victorious, because they had found that they are the ones who were winning on the day. His point was that the rights of Members to fulfil their duties and obligations in the House must clearly underscore all these rules, and should guide the clarification of the two points raised.
Ms J Kilian (ANC) said she understood that Members were dealing with Subrule (1) and she felt that it was appropriate to discuss the role of the Serjeant-at-Arms. That role had come down through parliamentary practice over many years; and succinctly it related to the executing person who was to support the Speaker in maintaining order. That was in turn one of the most critical functions of the Speaker. When the operating procedure was looked at, then the concerns raised by Ms Kalyan about bowing could be addressed. Effectively, it had always been the practice in the past that the Serjeant-at-Arms would approach the offending Member, and that offending Member would voluntarily leave. Now, however, since the situation was different, the thinking must change and she did not feel there was anything wrong with subrule (1). Once the Serjeant-at-Arms had been unable to convince a Member to leave, a report back by the Serjeant-at-Arms would follow, whereupon the Speaker would be able to give the instruction for a physical removal by parliamentary protection services. This was an interim arrangement. She supported what had been said about the need to investigate other parliamentary practice regarding the Serjeant-at-Arms. However, it must be international best practice for securing any Parliament to allow it to carry out its functions. In Westminster, a separate division of the metro police performed the security function. In the United States, the police performed the function of securing Parliament. Essentially, she stressed, this was about securing Parliament so that it could perform its constitutional function in a safe and secure manner. For every one Member who disrupted the House there were another 399 Members who wished to conduct the business of the House. If there were attempts to deal with disruptive members "with kid gloves” this would place a serious limitation on the work of Parliament. She agreed with the Chairperson’s approach of looking at each rule to see if the wording needed to be adjusted.
The Chairperson said the language team would work it out and consider all other proposals, without changing the substance or principle. He summarised that the general feeling was that rule 53(1) was accepted. Under subrule (2,) the Rules Committee accepted the existence of a parliamentary protection service. Mr Hahndiek had raised an issue about legality, and he requested that the legal team should assist with that. The essence of what was meant should be retained, but the final phrasing could be settled by the language team.
The Chairperson asked if any Members had any problems with subrule (3).
Ms Kilian said that, having listened to what Adv Jenkins had said, subrule (3) dealt with suspension, and not removal of a Member’s salary. This related to cases where a Member was contravening a rule or the authority of the Speaker. That Member had the opportunity to rethink his or her conduct. If the Member then complied, there would be no problem. If the Member resisted then this would warrant an automatic suspension. She argued that this rule should be retained. The issue was not the deduction of salaries or other penal measures; the Member was being suspended for deliberately undermining the authority of the Speaker and the elected House of the nation.
Mr Xaso outlined that under rule 54, in practice a Member would be suspended for five working days on the first occasion. During that period the Member would not be allowed to enter the precincts of Parliament, and therefore would not be able to attend Committee meetings. However, this did not extend to suspending his or her salary or other forms of remuneration.
Ms Kalyan said Adv Jenkins had made the point that a suspended Member was not permitted to be on the precincts of Parliament and therefore not being able to do his or her work as a member of a political party. This distinction needed to be stipulated. However, it must be remembered that the one-man parties run their constituencies out of their offices in Parliament. Many things are changing - in the past it was not the case that a party would run its affairs out of the parliamentary office, which was mostly reserved for parliamentary work, but now that it was allowed, the Subcommittee needed to address the anomaly of one-member parties and refine the distinction.
Mr Booi said removal from the precincts of Parliament had started when the Powers and Privileges Committee had begun to make such judgments. In some cases the Member was simply not allowed to be present in the House. The need to ensure due process must not prevent the presiding officer from coming to a conclusion. He pointed out that the first page of the proposal suggested that a multi-party committee must be formed to deal with these matters. He thought the Rules Committee would be appropriate. Dealing with the nature of the due process to be followed, consequent to a removal, would provide a good basis for discussion on entry into the precincts and suspension of salary. He believed that removal from the House, at the instance of the presiding officer, should be allowed, but that further measures should only ensue once another due process had been carried out.
Ms Kilian responded to the point raised by Ms Kalyan. All parties received parliamentary allowances. One-member parties usually had one extra office and again the individual Member’s choice was a factor, because she or he could abide by the rulings with no consequences, or resist and face the consequences. There were differences in interpretation of Judge Davis’ judgment in the EFF matter, and until such time as there was further clarity she could see no problem with the automatic suspension. This would not extend to the removal of salary, but would mean that the Member would not be able to attend at his or her parliamentary office, having been suspended from being in the precincts of Parliament. Members would clearly then reconsider their conduct and this would force Members to “get real” about their parliamentary responsibilities, which were essentially to open the House for debate on matters of public interest, rather than "staging a street theatre". She felt there was nothing prohibiting a rule which could lead to automatic suspension.
Mr Xaso said the current Rule 53(1) stated that a Member removed from the Chamber, named or suspended "shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of Parliament". If a different approach were to be taken, then this standing rule would have to be reconsidered.
The Chairperson asked if the Subcommittee was happy with subrule (3). He pointed out that defying the presiding officer must lead to consequences, and these should include removal by protection services. Although the protection services would not be in place when the rule came into force, capacity must be built over time and in the meantime other forces which exist at the time" of course would be called in to assist in the Chamber”.
Mr Hahndiek said it must be made clear that the suspension would not only follow for disregarding the rulings of the presiding officer. The Powers and Privileges Act made it clear that refusing to leave the Chamber when ordered to do so was contempt of Parliament, because the Member was then preventing the House from functioning. This was a very serious offence under the law.
The Chairperson said the question of stopping of salaries would require a due process.
The Chairperson, moving to sub-rule (4), asked for comment on the phrase “such force as may be reasonably necessary”. There was a long discussion in the Rules Committee, but it was agreed that the option of minimum force should be removed, because real force may be required.
Mr Hahndiek said he felt that the two options meant the same thing, because "minimum force" essentially still meant the force which was reasonably necessary to effect the removal. He thought that "force reasonably necessary" would sound better to a lay person.
Mr Booi said the rule must be written in a way to clarify that it could be one simple process, which was based on the Speaker’s decision.
The Chairperson said that these details could be ironed out when discussing the procedure. It was known that the Serjeant-at-Arms was not meant to uproot Members, and hence the proposal was that the parliamentary protection services should attend to this. In the Rules Committee, it was accepted that the Serjeant-at-Arms cannot simply call the protection services. There must be a notification to the Speaker that the Member refuses to leave, leading to an instruction by the Speaker. He asked whether any Member had a concern with subrule (5).
Ms Mazzone said she was concerned about what constituted "interference". She cited the example that the Speaker might make a ruling that a Member of the DA was to leave the Chamber She, as a whip, could then rise on a point of order. She questioned if this would constitute interference, leading to her own removal. She understood the concept of physically interfering, but felt that "interference" must be defined, because Members retained the right to state their disagreement.
The Chairperson said the language team would work on this and should include something about physical interference, preventing or hindering the removal of a Member. He commented that this would be important for the whippery in particular, who may be trying to get their Members to comply.
The Chairperson asked that Members move to subrule (6).
Ms Kilian said there was a concern about subrule (6) and perhaps more clarity was needed. She understood the intention of the subrule, but, to address Ms Mazzone’s concern, perhaps it should state that Members who interfered should be called to order and if necessary may also be removed. In the example cited, she noted that a whip should rise and ask for permission from the Speaker to go and call that Member to order, to create an understanding between the Speaker and the whippery of the relevant party that the latter was trying to assist the situation.
Mr Hahndiek said that earlier Mr Booi had suggested that this rule should include “under the direction of the presiding officer”. This was a critical point. As the wording presently stood, it seemed that it was automatic. There was a need to clarify who would decide whether a Member was interfering. At present, it would be left to parliamentary protection services to determine the fact of interference, but at the very least, the decision needed to be taken under the instruction of the presiding officer.
The Chairperson said the language team understood what the intention was and would work out the wording.
The Chairperson noted that the point which was taken by the Rules Committee on subrule (7) was that the House should not adjourn when a Member was being removed, and that all Members should remain seated. However, he noted the issue raised by Mr Hahndiek that in a situation caused by a group of Members, it could be very chaotic to try to remove many.
Mr Xaso suggested that this rule should also include the phrase "unless directed otherwise by the presiding officer".
Mr Hahndiek said Ms Kalyan had earlier asked who would attend to the clearing of the passages .If the rule were to require Members to remain seated, the passages would automatically be clear.
Mr Booi said he thought the question was linked to who must take the responsibility, and specifically whether it would be the security services. It was suggested that nothing should be allowed to happen which "will see blood spilling on the Chamber floor", but he questioned whether protection services or security services would take responsibility for disruption in the passages, and whether the protection services would be restricted to dealing with occurrences within the Chamber.
Mr Hahndiek said Members must be careful that the mandate of the protection services was not extended. Once they had been called in, their function was to remove an identified Member or Members from the Chamber, but not beyond that.
Mr Xaso said the intention with this provision was to deal with the passages in the Chamber, but he suggested that the word "passages" should be removed, leaving only “remain seated or resume their seats”.
The Chairperson asked, and received confirmation, that the Subcommittee was happy with subrule (8).
Draft Standard Operating Procedure
The Chairperson noted that there were no concerns with point 1.
He asked for comment on point 2.
Mr Hahndiek said he thought that point 2 should state that the Serjeant-at-Arms should explain that the instructions of the presiding officer should be adhered to, and that the parliamentary protection services would otherwise have to be called in to remove the offending Members. The Serjeant-at-Arms should respectfully indicate that there had been an instruction from the presiding officer, and failure to comply would be a serious offence.
The Chairperson said the support staff would capture that point. He agreed that Members must always be treated with respect, even if they were breaking the Rules. The Powers and Privileges Committee would meet following the incident. He noted that previously, a view was raised in the Subcommittee that a disciplinary committee should be separated from the Powers and Privileges Committee. He was unsure whether this viewpoint was presented to the Rules Committee. The reasoning had been that the Powers and Privileges Committee process was long, and it would be useful to have a small Committee, which could sit during the House session, to determine the guilt of the Member quickly, rather than waiting for an initiator and the outcome of the Powers and Privileges process.
Mr Xaso commented on the points made about the Serjeant-at-Arms bowing. One possible alternatives would be for the Serjeant-at-Arms to walk to the Speaker and advise this person of the occurrence, although this would take time while the disorder would continue in the House. Another option was for the Serjeant-at-Arms to speak through a Member’s microphone, although strictly the Serjeant-at-Arms does not have speaking rights in the Chamber. Bowing was meant to avoid these concerns, but it would be up to the Subcommittee to decide.
Mr Hahndiek said he felt that the time for the Serjeant-at-Arms to walk to the Speaker may not necessarily be a bad thing, because it could provide a cooling off period for the Member to reconsider his or her actions.
The Chairperson said it was necessary for the Serjeant-at-Arms to communicate with the presiding officer, and this would require walking up to the Speaker; s/he could not be expected to shout out that the Member was not complying. An approach would be made to the Speaker who would have to decide.
Ms Kalyan said that bowing was based on respect, but it could be challenged in a court of law, on the basis of questioning how that instruction was conveyed, if not recorded in Hansard. The current instruction was conveyed visually, with a particular manner of performing a bow. She disagreed that it would raise difficulties for the Serjeant-at-Arms to speak, because s/he was not being asked to participate in a debate. An instruction would have been issued and the Serjeant-at-Arms ought to have the right to convey to the Speaker that the instruction could not be carried out effectively. There would not be a debate or a long speech, merely a brief statement that the Member refused to leave. I was a little much to expect the Serjeant-at-Arms to walk back to the podium, although she agreed that speaking from a Member’s microphone could also create problems. She indicated, however, that when the Mace was being brought in, the Speaker’s voice was loud enough for all to hear. Verbal acknowledgement by the Serjeant-at-Arms that the order cannot be carried out was the important point.
Mr Booi said the rule was written to maintain the image and procedure of the institution. With the Serjeant-at-Arms as part of the institution, the interaction should not be only between the Serjeant-at-Arms and the Speaker. Members would want to be satisfied that the procedure was followed properly and that the rules had been broken at a particular point. If the communication was between only the Serjeant-at-Arms and the Speaker, other Members would not know what was said, and it would be unclear whether the Speaker or the Serjeant-at-Arms gave the instruction to remove. Allowing the Serjeant-at-Arms to bow or indicateotherwise to the Speaker would assure Members that the Rules and procedure were being followed, so retaining the requirement of bowing, or speaking aloud to the Speaker, would be important to allow all Members to keep track of the sequence of events and assist in judging who was right or wrong. Retaining bowing would ensure that Members could see that the Speaker was acting in terms of the Rules.
Ms Kilian suggested that the sentence should be changed to state that the presiding officer must announce and inform the House that the parliamentary protection services were being called in; that would be sufficiently recorded for the purposes of Hansard.
The Chairperson said it was generally acknowledged that an indication would be appropriately made through bowing, although this would mean that only the presiding officer knew what the bowing meant.
Ms Kilian said that, for practical purposes, it would be obvious to all present that the Member was refusing to leave and the announcement was being made for the purposes of recording.
The Chairperson said he was concerned that the Serjeant-at-Arms would not speak. He suggested that it may be far better for the Serjeant-at-Arms to simply use a Member’s microphone to communicate with the Speaker. Bowing only may lead to confusion and allow people to claim that this did not mean to indicate that the Member was refusing to leave.
Ms Kilian said it was only elected Members who were supposed to have speaking rights in the House. She reiterated that it would be self-evident that the Serjeant-at-Arms was unable to effect the removal, and at the point when the Serjeant-at-Arms indicated that s/he was giving up, the presiding officer would announce that it was time for the protection services to be called in.
Mr Hahndiek agreed that the bowing would be ambiguous. The Serjeant-at-Arms should indicate clearly the inability to remove the Member. As Ms Kilian had suggested, it was for the presiding officer to announce that the protection services would be called in.
The Chairperson said a better manner of indication should be found.
The Chairperson asked Members to move to point 4.
Mr Perran Hahndiek said point 4 of the SOP set out that protection services are to enter the Chamber, under the direction of the Serjeant-at-Arms. Members had raised the issue of who was ultimately responsible. He suggested that it would be preferable to use the wording "under the direction of the presiding officer".
Mr Xaso said the authority must be retained with the presiding officer, who would have made the order. Because the Serjeant-at-Arms would be on the floor executing that order, s/he would be directing the protection services, once the order had been given.
Mr Booi said it should be clarified that only after the Serjeant-at-Arms had received the instruction from the presiding officer, would s/he be able to carry out the instruction, and open the doors for the protection services to enter the Chamber.
Mr Xaso said that the Serjeant-at-Arms would definitely be acting under the instruction of the presiding officer. While bowing may be problematic, the gesture needs to be clarified.
Mr Booi said the cause of the debate related to the circumstances. In traditional parliaments, bowing would be appropriate. However, in South Africa, the circumstances had changed. There now needed to be clear communication with the Speaker, because there was the potential for the protection services to be called in. The wording would be important and an innovative way must be found of signalling what was happening.
Mr Hahndiek said he had seen what had happened the last time the protection service was called in, whoever they were. They had been peeking around from behind the Speaker’s chair and the officials' bay is. He really thought that had to be managed better. There could be one representative in the Chamber who would receive the signal, and then go out to call the rest of the protection services.
Mr Booi said he would not like any of the protection services to sit inside the Chamber, but only the Serjeant-at-Arms should be there. Protection services being present may cause them to act without proper instruction and they should wait to be instructed.
The Chairperson asked whether Members had concerns about item 5.
Mr Booi said there was a need to clarify who would be escorting the Member out, whether protection services or security services.
Ms Kilian said usually it would be the Serjeant-at-Arms who did so.
Mr Hahndiek said the practicality was that there is only one Serjeant-at-Arms, who should be able to call for the assistance of the protection services to guide the offending Member off the precincts, particularly as the Serjeant-at-Arms could not be away from the Chamber for an extended period of time at such a critical moment.
Mr Booi agreed with Ms Kalyan’s earlier point. The nature of the Serjeant-at-Arms under these Rules had moved beyond the role of a traditional Serjeant-at-Arms. This should perhaps be consciously written into the Rules.
The Chairpersons said the Serjeant-at-Arm’s role would consequential to the Rules, and the person holding this office must be aware of the responsibilities. Where Members refused to leave, the protection services would have to be called in and the essence of what was intended was agreed.
Mr Hahndiek said the standard operating procedure did not cover what occurred outside of the Chamber, and it should not be assumed that an offending Member will stop struggling when removed past the door. For this reason, there was a need to have SOPs also for what must occur past the Chamber, including that the Members may be escorted off the precincts and that if they persisted in insisting upon entering the Chamber, they may need to be detained.
The Chairperson said this should be worked out, because a previous incident had led to removed Members gathering on the steps of the Chamber.
Mr Hahndiek said he was glad that this had been introduced. He reiterated that the public gallery was not covered by the Rules directly. If any member of the public refused to obey an instruction, the security services should be able to act without the involvement of the Speaker.
Ms Kalyan said point 6 should be switched with point 7; it was clumsy to move from speaking about Chamber, to speaking about the gallery and back again to the Chamber.
The Chairperson said the points would be reordered. and asked if Members were happy with point seven.
Ms Kalyan added that in relation to point 5, the phrase "physically escorted" should be included. She had seen some Members insisting that because they had been Members for a long time, they knew what to do.
Mr Perran Hahndiek added that the SOP would have to stipulate that physical escorting was to be done by protection services.
Ms Kilian said it must be borne in mind that according to the Powers and Privileges Act, security services are responsible for law and order, and protection services had been given the responsibility of dealing with the Chamber. However, the rest of the parliamentary precincts fall under the National Key Points Act. Therefore, if Members are causing havoc on the precincts, nothing stops the security services from supporting the parliamentary protection services in the execution of their function.
The Chairperson said he thought this point had been clarified. Security services would not enter the Chamber, but once the Member had been removed from the Chamber, the security services may assist.
Mr Hahndiek said this was a matter to be set out in the SOP. The distinction between the functions of parliamentary protection services and security forces needed to be clearly defined, so that both groups were aware of their responsibilities.
The Chairperson said parliamentary protection services operated within the Chamber because the intention was to avoid security services being commanded by the executive operating in the Chamber. The protection services are commanded by the presiding officers, although there was a proposal for them to report to a multi-party Committee.
Ms Kalyan wanted to check, for the sake of clarity, that the SOP would stipulate that the parliamentary protection service’s role ended at the point where the Member had been removed by that service from the Chamber and had been handed over to the police. If this was not clarified, it could be that a Member, having been removed, could cause a rally to be formed within the precincts of parliament; for that reason a Member must be escorted completely off the parliamentary precincts.
Mr Xaso said that if a Member complied there would be no need for either security or parliamentary protection services.
The Chairperson said the support staff would capture the provision properly, to avoid any ambiguity. If the security services did not know what to do, then there may be problems. Inside the Chamber, the Serjeant-at-Arms and protection services would be in control, under the direction of the presiding officers, who was the only one who could give an order. The actions of the protection services would be scrutinised by a multi-party parliamentary oversight body. Security services, on the other hand, would be guided by the Powers and Privileges Act. It was important that there should be no confusion about who would be responsible for what, because members of the services may be scared to become involved if there was not clarity.
Mr Booi said he thought that the authority and existence of the protection services would remain with the Rules Committee, rather than a parliamentary oversight authority, where there was no clear indication of how it should function.
The Chairperson said it was accepted that the Rules Committee is the senior Committee of Parliament, and that decides the policy for the day to day running of Parliament, but it may decide that there should be a parliamentary oversight authority. The Rules Committee, from time to time will receive reports if there are problems with the conduct of the parliamentary protection services. The protection service would not be established quickly and it would take time to get it fully trained, but this would be the foundation for the future.
The Chairperson asked that Members move on to point 7.
Mr Hahndiek said the issue of suspending the House again came up here, because the House would be suspended in the event that the protection services would be called in and made to forcefully remove people, which would surely amount to violence. It could be difficult for the Speaker to decide whether to suspend the house or not during mayhem. He wanted to clarify the difference between suspension and adjournment. Adjournment meant the House would not meet again that day. Suspension meant proceedings would be suspended for a period of time and resume later on the same day. In relation to removing Members from the Chamber who refused to leave, he still felt it would be more in the interests of preserving the dignity of the House if proceedings were suspended. The object of removal was to get the Member out of the House. Suspension would allow for the Member to be excluded from further proceedings. The offending Member would leave the Chamber and when proceedings were resumed, that person would be physically prevented from re-entering the Chamber.
The Chairperson said this would be proposed to the Rules Committee. Members of the Rules Committee were not in favour of suspension of the House, but with more motivation they would surely understand the point. For example, where several Members were to be removed from the Chamber, then suspension would be advisable. If the Rules Committee, however, refused to concede that point, then nothing could be done.
Mr Perran Hahndiek said that he understood the provision in item 7 to be a supporting function. If protection services entered the House to remove Members, this invited resistance, bearing in mind that they would already have refused the Serjeant-at-Arms’ instruction. Whether this constituted violence or not was a moot point, but the protection services should be allowed to use such force as may be necessary. If they required support then they would call on the security services. The aim was not that a new group of people be called in, in the event of resistance, but that they be present if needed to support.
Mr Booi said this the language was important, because security services were defined in the Constitution and Parliament would define the protection guard. This meant that the body was being created without a governing law already in place, but Members could not leave matters ambiguous. If there was any violence, then the National Key Points provisions would kick in, and the security services had to fulfil a particular role. He felt that "support" was not the most appropriate word and this would have to be considered.
Ms Kilian said she supported Mr Booi's points, but this was an interim position and Members would also have to look at the final position. She queried how big the parliamentary protection services would be, particularly when removing disorderly Members of the public from the gallery. In the interim, she felt that the provisions were acceptable, but a strong and sober debate was needed on what was envisaged for the future. There were separate legislative and executive arms of government. Other parliaments' examples must be studied, to see how they overcame this problem.
Ms Kilian recommended, under point 6, that parliamentary protection services should not be included, because, as she understood it, the Chamber was where the elected Members were, and the gallery was part of the precinct where security services may operate.
The Chairperson asked for clarity, and Ms Kilian confirmed that she wanted to remove a reference to protection services from being involved in the gallery.
Ms Kalyan suggested that point 7 include specifics on who would order an intervention, if there was violence in the Chamber, when the presiding officer may suspend proceedings and order that members of the security services intervene.
Ms Kilian responded that presently, in terms of the Powers and Privileges Act, if there was violence it was the responsibility of the security services to enter the gallery. She did not feel it appropriate to deal with matters in the Rules beyond what was in the Act.
Mr Xaso read out section 4(2) of the Powers and Privileges Act, worded: “where there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person, or damage to any property, members of the security services may, without obtaining such permission, enter upon and take action in so far as necessary to avert that danger..Any such action must as soon as possible be reported to the Speaker or Chairperson”.
Ms Kalyan said her concern was with the absence of a linkage between the presiding officer suspending proceedings and the security service members coming in. She wanted clarity on how the instruction would be conveyed.
Mr Hahndiek said there needed to be a distinction between sections 4(1) and 4(2) of the Powers and Privileges Act. The problem may be with the words "in the event of violence". Section 4(2) speaks specifically to danger to life and property and so in those circumstances the police may move in without instruction. However, there could be circumstances where there would be no threat to life, but there was violence, and the presiding officer may request security services to come in and assist. This would not be at the instance of the security services, because the circumstances of section 4(2) had not occurred. Perhaps the provision should be separated into the two categories.
Mr Booi said that in instances where criminals tried to escape from courts, the police would not have to wait for the judge to make a judgment, and there were circumstances where the police could act immediately. He felt the suspension affected Members directly, and if the Speaker had not made a decision, then Members would still be seated and wondering what would happen next. The point was how far Member’s rights could be violated where the police came into the Chamber, and at what stage should the Speaker provide protection and get Members out of the House.
Mr Perran Hahndiek said that the question was whether proceedings would be suspended when police entered the Chamber, given that when protection services entered the Chamber, Members were to remain seated or resume their seats, unless otherwise directed by the presiding officer.
Mr Booi said this went back to the point that it would be necessary to define what was reasonable force, and at what point there was sufficient violence for the police to be called in. These two areas needed to be clarified.
Ms Mazzone agreed and said that if it got to the point where section 4(2) was being called into play, because there was a threat to life and damage to property, then the session must be suspended due to the danger to Parliament.
Mr Hahndiek said that there may be a physical concern with Members being able to hear the fact that the Speaker had suspended the proceedings. There would need to be a strong override at the Speaker’s desk to allow for this to be heard.
Ms Mazzone said when in America there was an alarm system alerting Members to things such as bomb threats, and perhaps the South African Parliament could have something similar. The whips should all be briefed, so that they could inform their caucuses that when the alarm was sounded, they must leave the Chamber.
The Chairperson noted agreement that removal would be done by the protection services but where there was a threat to life, then security services would be allowed to enter the Chamber. Point 8 was also accepted, that the security services should not be armed when they entered the Chamber.
Mr Perran Hahndiek questioned whether, in the event that a Member might be armed in the Chamber, the police should not also be armed.
Mr Kasper Hahndiek said that if the police were acting under section 4(2) then they would not be taking instruction from the presiding officer and could come into the Chamber armed. Under section 4(1) they should not be armed.
Mr Perran Hahndiek said that requiring the police to enter the Chamber unarmed effectively required them to desert their firearms.
The Chairperson said it was only under extreme conditions that the police would be called in. He added that these were interim measures and functioned only until such time as the comprehensive review of the Rules was completed.
Mr Hahndiek said that perhaps the rules should allow for a policy to provide for a different approach in certain circumstances. For example, the policy might allow for security services to enter the Chamber armed, in certain circumstances.
The Chairperson noted that the Subcommittee now seemed to have concluded its business.
Future meetings of Subcommittee
Mr Perran Hahndiek said the drafting team had received several instructions, to work on the wording of various provisions. He was unsure whether the Subcommittee would meet again before the Rules Committee meeting for the updates to be accepted. He proposed that once the Chairperson was happy with the draft, it could be circulated to the other Members for comment, rather than calling another meeting.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Rules Committee could still amend the draft. He suggested that perhaps the Subcommittee should meet on the morning of Tuesday 28 July.
Mr Hahndiek questioned whether the drafting team would have time before the Rules Committee meeting to effect any further changes.
The Chairperson said he expected any changes to be so minimal that it should not pose any obstacle. All the principles were agreed to. The purpose of the meeting would be to confirm that Members were happy with presenting something that they would have had the opportunity to see. ,The support staff would be redrafting to ensure that the provisions were more clear.
Mr Xaso said that there was a risk that any parties not present might argue that they have not had the opportunity to see the draft. The Rules Committee may therefore not be in a position to finalise the draft at the next meeting.
Mr Hahndiek said he would be able to complete the draft by 23 July 2015 and circulate it, particularly given that the Members of the Rules Committee required as much notice as possible.
The Chairperson said the Subcommittee should still meet on 28 July, but that meeting would be short addressing only such concerns as the establishment of protection services and the removal of Members. The ANC would submit a document to the drafters to enable them to improve the language. He suggested that the Parliamentary staff who had been helping with the whole process should be invited to the party caucuses for the consideration of the comprehensive review of the Rules. If they were requested to attend, then he would second staff, which would be helpful to the Members to assist with technical rather than political issues.
He further confirmed that the Subcommittee meeting would be on Tuesday 28 July, at 11:00. He reiterated that there should not be any major changes to deal with, as the Rules Committee has already looked at the matters.
Mr Booi said it was important that the media understand the reasoning behind the Rules and therefore parliament should be systematic in informing people about how Members had come to certain decisions.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.