Picture: Screenshot/Twitter.

Parliament - The red berets came out guns blazing after a police officer who was slapped by EFF MP Marshall Dlamini shortly after president Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address laid charges, saying the assault was in "self-defence" against "assassination threats" directed at its leader.  

A video of the incident has gone viral showing EFF MPs in a scuffle with security officials after the Sona, ending in the plain-clothed officer being slapped.

"An initial report alleges that Warrant Officer Johan Carstens, responsible for cordoning off the exit area for the procession, faced sudden confrontation and was attacked by an EFF MP, resulting in facial injuries," the statement from Parliament said., resulting in facial injuries," the statement from Parliament said.

"Officer Carstens has opened an assault case with the police."

Parliament's presiding officers condemned the incident and described the conduct of the MP as "shameful", while at the same time confirming Parliament was probing the matter.

"The presiding officers will await a full report on the matter in order to determine an appropriate course of action."

The EFF meanwhile has spoken out on the incident, saying the incident was "self-defence" against "assassination threats" made against EFF leader Julius Malema. 

Spokesperson Nompumelelo Simango in a statement said the security threat implicated "elite members of the police, who are in collaboration with right-wing groups to take the life of the CIC [Commander-In-Chief], in an attempt to undermine the advances on the expropriation of land without compensation discourse, that will soon be law".

"We are told that the Parliamentary Security Service, a.k.a 'white shirts', have been infiltrated by these groups and targeted the occasion of the SONA to execute the assassination. The hope was that the EFF caucus would be kicked out of the house, using the parliamentary security (white Shirts). The anticipated evil acts would then be carried out during this moment of chaos. 

"Accordingly, when the CIC and the EFF leadership were unreasonably stopped by these white shirts in Parliament after the house had been adjourned, we all thought this was the moment and reacted with the necessary self-defence. 

"The event of a white security man in black and white, being pushed and clapped in the face, followed him violently pulling the CIC Malema, from passing through the corridor doors of the National Assembly."

Simango added that the EFF was "not [be] moved or intimidated by these reports of a security threat".

Additional reporting by African News Agency (ANA)