Parly refutes claims of extra security measures for SONA

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pretoria - Parliament has rejected media reports that it has acquired combat gear for its protection officers in preparation for the State of the Nation Address on Thursday. 

“We reject the sensational claim in the newspaper report about procurement of bulletproof vests, tommy bars, handcuffs and other equipment by Parliament for use by its Protection Officers. Equipment that Protection Officers use is in line with their responsibilities,” Parliament spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs said on Sunday.

The media report had alleged that the security staff were being trained by the police's public order policing unit and that combat gear was being acquired for use by the security officials.

Jacobs said physical fitness and good conditioning are inherent competencies for safety and security officers.

“Parliamentary Protection Officers undergo training as part of their tasks. This has nothing to do specifically with the State of the Nation Address. The training for Parliament Protection Officers will continue.”

Last month, the Economic Freedom Fighters threatened to disrupt President Jacob Zuma's annual address if he did not respond to questions related to his Nkandla homestead.

The State of the Nation Address event which Parliament hosts brings together the three arms of state, members of the diplomatic corps and foreign guests, civil society representatives and members of the public.

Security arrangements for the event, a shared function between Parliament and the security apparatuses of the state, are commensurate with the stature of the event, said Jacobs. -

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