MPs blast arrest of jogger

By Caiphus Kgosana

Political Bureau

A heated row has broken out in Parliament over the treatment meted out to the Cape Town jogger arrested two weeks ago after allegedly making a rude gesture at President Jacob Zuma's convoy.

Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula refused to reply to questions from opposition MPs yesterday about whether Chumani Maxwele's treatment at the hands of Zuma's protection detail would be investigated.

He insisted the matter was "sub judice" as Maxwele had indicated he intended filing a civil claim against the police.

Opposition MPs accused Mbalula of hiding behind the sub judice rule.

Maxwele, an ANC member, denies giving Zuma's convoy the middle finger.

Juli Killian (COPE) and Theo Coetzee (DA) asked whether an investigation would be launched.

They got the same answer from Mbalula: "We are unable to comment on this matter, as the individual has stated that he has lodged a civil claim against the department and we regard the issue as sub judice."

Faced with a barrage of other questions on the incident, Mbalula repeated this.

DA chief whip Ian Davidson said Mbalula could not invoke the sub judice injunction as the matter was not in court.

Killian said: "If the honourable deputy minister is going to again hide behind what he calls a sub judice rule, which is not a sub judice rule, it means he will refrain from responding to the questions. Answer the simple questions."

Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said the rules of Parliament did not allow two similar questions to be placed on the order paper for ministerial replies and urged MPs to accept the answer given.

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