An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS COVERING DISRUPTIONS DURING PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The Rules Committee of the National Assembly, having considered proposals for the amendment of the Rules of the National Assembly, recommends the following amendments to the Rules:
(a) Section 1 (Definitions) to be amended by the insertion of a new definition:
“Parliamentary Protection Services” means any person authorised by Parliament to perform security and protection services within the precincts of Parliament, and includes all parliamentary staff members employed, appointed, assigned, delegated or contracted by Parliament to perform security and protection functions within the precincts of Parliament.
(b) New Rule 53A to be inserted, as follows:
53A. Removal of member from Chamber
(1) If a member refuses to leave the Chamber when ordered to do so by the presiding officer in terms of Rule 51, the presiding officer must instruct the Serjeant-at-Arms to remove the member from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament forthwith.
(2) If the Serjeant-at-Arms is unable in person to effect the removal of the member, the presiding officer may call upon the Parliamentary Protection Services to assist in removing the member from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament.
(3) A member who is removed from the Chamber in terms of subrule (2), is thereby immediately automatically suspended for the period applicable as provided for in Rule 54, and may not enter the precincts for the duration of the suspension.
(4) If a member resists attempts to be removed from the Chamber in terms of subrules (1) or (2), the Serjeant-at-Arms and the Parliamentary Protection Services may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to overcome any resistance.
(5) No member may, in any manner whatsoever, physically intervene in, prevent, obstruct or hinder the removal of a member from the Chamber in terms of these Rules.
(6) Any member or members who contravene subrule (5) may, on the instruction of the presiding officer, also be summarily removed from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament forthwith.
(7) If proceedings are suspended for the purposes of removing a member or members, all other members must remain seated or resume their seats, unless otherwise directed by the presiding officer.
(8) When entering the Chamber on the instruction of the presiding officer –
(a) Members of the Parliamentary Protection Services may not be armed; and
(b) Members of the security services may not be armed, except in extraordinary circumstances in terms of security policy.
(9) Members who have been removed from the Chamber will be escorted off the precincts by Parliamentary Protection Services personnel and will not be allowed to enter the House or precincts of Parliament as the Rules prescribe.
(10) If a member(s) offers resistance to being removed from the precincts, members of the security services may be called upon to assist with such removal.
(11) In the event of violence, or a reasonable prospect of violence or serious disruption ensuing in the Chamber as a result of a member(s) resisting removal, the presiding officer may suspend proceedings, and members of the security services may be called upon by the presiding officer to assist with the removal of members from the Chamber and the precincts of Parliament forthwith in terms of Section 4(1) of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act No 4 of 2004, or may intervene directly anywhere in the precincts in terms of section 4(2) of the Act when there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property.
(12) Whenever a member is physically removed from the Chamber in terms of this Rule, the circumstances of such removal must be referred by the Speaker, within 24 hours, to a multi-party committee for consideration.
(13) The House may approve Standard Operating Procedures, recommended by the Rules Committee, for the exercise of this function, in particular in relation to the use of the Parliamentary Protection Services and members of the security services for this purpose.
Standard Operating Procedures: Member refusing to leave Chamber
(1) If a member refuses to leave the Chamber, the presiding officer asks the Serjeant-at-Arms to remove the member from the Chamber.
(2) The Serjeant-at-Arms approaches the member(s) to explain in a respectful manner that the instruction of the presiding officer must be complied with and that failure to do so can constitute a grave offence and have serious implications, including that the member(s) may need to be physically removed from the Chamber.
(3) If the member still refuses to leave, the Serjeant-at-Arms indicates to the presiding officer that the member refuses to comply, whereupon the presiding officer informs the House that the Parliamentary Protection Services are to be called upon to assist.
(4) The Parliamentary Protection Services personnel enter the Chamber upon the instruction of the presiding officer, and proceed to remove the member(s) concerned under the direction of the Serjeant-at-Arms.
(5) Members of the public in the gallery who participate in disorderly conduct will be removed by the security services.BACK TO TOP