An interim report on security measures at Parliament has been released.
Parliament Portfolio Committees on Police and Public Works demanded the report on security measures, following a suicide incident last month, where a worker shot himself to death in his office inside Parliament.
This was a deadly wake-up call for Parliament. It is a national key point and is under heavy security guard seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
But this did not prevent a worker from entering the premises with a loaded gun and killing himself. Legislators believe security personnel had again dropped the ball.
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police Francios Beukman says: “It is quite clear that there were lapses within the execution of duties within members to ensure that it is a safe place for everybody.”
The new measures include physical searches, installation of new searching devices and increased police presence in and outside Parliament’s premises.
But the workers say although they welcome the tightening of security, Parliament’s challenges go beyond security measures.
Chairperson of Nehawu S’thembiso Tembe says: “The issue is not about security alone, there are other labour issues that are affecting our members.”
The worker shot himself, apparently after Parliament refused to renew his contract.
Several other workers, mainly cleaners, bar tenders, chefs and others have been working in Parliament for more than 20 years, without any benefits such as pension and medical aid.
They were hired through labour brokers.
Some of them were recently offered full-time employment, after National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) intervened.