WATCH | 'This is a criminal family': BLF storm Oppenheimers' briefing in parliament

30 October 2018 - 11:48 By Andisiwe Makinana
Black First Land First activists stormed parliament chambers on October 30 2018, interrupting a briefing of the home affairs portfolio committee by Nicky Oppenheimer and his son Jonathan.
Black First Land First activists stormed parliament chambers on October 30 2018, interrupting a briefing of the home affairs portfolio committee by Nicky Oppenheimer and his son Jonathan.
Image: Twitter/@AnnikaLarsen1

Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama and about 25 supporters were bundled out of a parliamentary meeting on Tuesday as they charged at Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer as they discussed their company operating a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.

About 45 minutes into the meeting Mngxitama‚ who was seated at the back of the venue‚ rose and shouted: “shutdown Fireblade”.

Fireblade Aviation is the company operating the private terminal at the airport.

As soon as he got up to speak‚ the BLF's spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp charged towards the Oppenheimers who flanked former Northern Cape Premier Manne Dipico — a director in the company.

If it was not for Dipico‚ who had to physically block Maasdorp before parliament's protection services arrived‚ the younger man would have manhandled Oppenheimer senior.

By this time‚ a number of BLF supporters who had been listening to proceedings joined in the chaos‚ chanting “shutdown Fireblade”.

In videos posted to Twitter, Mngxitama can be heard shouting accusations at the father and son, accusing them of capturing parliament and labelling them a 'criminal family'. 

The meeting in parliament follows a visit by the National Assembly's home affairs committee in August to the private terminal at the airport.

“Following the visit‚ the committee raised a few concerns including the lack of a written agreement between the state and Fireblade regulating the operation as well as the impact the operation has on the state coffers as the running of this private terminal does not form part of the annual performance plan of a number of government departments that must operate in the port of entry environment‚” the committee said in a statement on Sunday.

After the removal of BLF members‚ MPs called for the party to be reported to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete as this was also not the first time its members were involved in disrupting a parliamentary meeting.

This was a third such disruption of a parliamentary meeting by the BLF in less than 18 months.

They've previously disrupted meetings of the finance and trade and industry committees in May 2017 when Mngxitama referred to the trade and industry chair Joanmariae Fubbs as a “fascist” and got involved in a confrontation with finance chair Yunus Carrim.

In March this year‚ the bouncers were again called to eject BLF members who disrupted a meeting of the justice portfolio committee‚ in defence of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Mkhwebane was appearing before the committee to talk about her findings in both the Estina dairy farm and CIEX reports.

The meeting continues.

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