National

Cope MP's mid-flight conduct under scrutiny

Glynnis Underhill

Dirk Feldman was arrested for drunken disorderliness after allegedly trying to open an exit door mid-flight on an SAA plane to India last month.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said he would await the findings of the disciplinary committee before making any decisions on Feldman's fate. (M&G)

Congress of the People (Cope) parliamentarian Dirk Feldman will have to explain why he was arrested for drunken disorderliness after allegedly trying to open an exit door mid-flight on an SAA plane to India last month.

The report on what happened while Feldman was on the aircraft with an official parliamentary delegation to India has been handed to Parliament and will shortly come under the scrutiny of a disciplinary committee convened by the National Council of Provinces.

This week the council convened a session to endorse the members selected to sit on the disciplinary committee. The committee will comprise three ANC members and two Democratic Alliance members, according to Cope's acting chief whip, Dennis Bloem.

Bloem is keeping mum on the report's contents, which will be aired in due course. "It would not be proper for me to discuss the report. It will go before the disciplinary committee."

Bloem said dates for the sitting of the committee would be decided at the session on August 3.

Briefly detained
Feldman, who has not been suspended by his party, was briefly detained by security authorities on landing in Mumbai. He was ordered home by national assembly speaker Max Sisulu and National Council of Provinces chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu, who had arrived in India on a different flight.

Feldman allegedly did not deny the claims against him and offered to co-operate with any investigation or disciplinary hearing.

He could not be reached for comment this week and appeared to be lying low.

Police told the Mail & Guardian Feldman was not charged when he landed in South Africa because the incident had taken place outside the country.

The parliamentary delegation's five-day visit was the first of its kind to India and was aimed at exchanging information and experiences about strengthening the role of Parliament.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said he would await the findings of the disciplinary committee before making any decisions on Feldman's fate.

"If it is found that the allegations against him are founded, he must face Cope's disciplinary process," Lekota said.


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