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Parliament appoints independent investigator to probe GBV, intimidation claims during budget vote debate

EFF member Babalwa Mathulelwa is forcefully removed from the house as she disrupts President Cyril Ramaphosa as he presents the third Presidency Budget Vote of the Sixth Administration to the National Assembly in Cape Town on June 9. The Budget Vote covers the 2022/23 financial year. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

EFF member Babalwa Mathulelwa is forcefully removed from the house as she disrupts President Cyril Ramaphosa as he presents the third Presidency Budget Vote of the Sixth Administration to the National Assembly in Cape Town on June 9. The Budget Vote covers the 2022/23 financial year. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 29, 2022

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Cape Town - Parliament announced on Wednesday the appointment of an independent investigator to probe allegations of gender-based violence (GBV) and other related matters that arose during the budget vote debate of the presidency.

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Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said advocate Elizabeth Baloyi-Mere will investigate complaints of GBV, sexual harassment, intimidation and violence involving EFF MPs and parliamentary protection services (PPS) officials.

“Advocate Baloyi-Mere’s responsibility will be to assess the complaints and allegations made by the EFF members against the PPS officials as well as complaints and claims made by the PPS officials against the EFF members, and then report to the Speaker on findings and recommendations,” Mothapo said.

He said Baloyi-Mere was expected to complete her investigation within 14 working days and submit her report within five working days to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The investigation comes hot on the heels of the red berets laying assault and sexual assault charges against National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the PPS officials at the Cape Town central police station.

Two of the officials also laid criminal charges with the police and one sustained an injury to her face after an alleged assault by an EFF male public representative.

The National Assembly Chamber was turned into chaos about three weeks ago when EFF MPs refused to be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Mothapo said the investigation was instituted after the EFF requested Mapisa-Nqakula to conduct a full investigation of GBV and sexual harassment against its MPs, who were forcefully removed from the NA chamber.

He said PPS officials also lodged a complaint about the violent treatment they received from EFF MPs while being removed from the Chamber.

“The PPS officials further reported that threats and intimidation were meted out to them by certain EFF members,” Mothapo said.

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Last Thursday, the National Assembly’s Sub-committee on Physical Removal of a Member decided to refer the conduct of the 12 evicted EFF parliamentarians to a disciplinary process.

Parties represented in Parliament had complained about their rights being violated by the red berets when they were set to hear Ramaphosa address and respond to issues they raised during the budget vote debate.

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said at the time the matter would be referred to the Rules Committee in order to refer the report to be considered by the Powers and Privileges Committee.

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