South Africa: Turning Parliament Into Just Another Secure Government Installation Betrays SA's Democracy

Photo: Supplied
Left: Lennox Garane. Right: An image macro featuring text from a statement by the family of Lennox Garane.

Parliament senior manager Lennox Garane's recent suicide after 18 months of workplace bullying is being (mis)used by the SAPS to ratchet up security to unprecedented levels in a show of kragdadigheid. And the People's Parliament, where public access is a constitutional imperative, is being reduced to just another government installation.

The day after SAPS national commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole and Police Minister Bheki Cele were requested by MPs worried about the militarisation of Parliament not to haul out the "sledgehammer to kill a fly", security was stepped up.

The SAPS last week told MPs it was the SAPS that was in charge to "safeguard the Parliament as a strategic government installation and to ensure the safety and protection of VIPs within the parliamentary precinct". And the SAPS responsibilities include "screening of the person who seeks access to determine if the person is a legitimate visitor and whether his/her reason for visiting the premises is a valid one".

The Parliamentary Protection Services (PPS), which since 1994 has been in charge of security at...

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