Lack of se­cu­rity

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

ON FRI­DAY morn­ing, a se­nior pub­lic of­fi­cial en­tered the par­lia­men­tary precinct brim­ming with anger and armed with a gun.

Ac­cord­ing to some of his col­leagues, he had known for some time that his con­tract for em­ploy­ment would not be re­newed. By chance his man­ager was not in the of­fice on the day and in­stead of a vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion, the of­fi­cial com­mit­ted sui­cide in­side his of­fice.

There’s a point to be made, and right now ques­tions are be­ing asked about how the man man­aged to sneak a gun into the par­lia­men­tary precinct, which is con­sid­ered to be one of the Na­tional Key Points.

But come to the Na­tional As­sem­bly on a quiet day and you might just find that the po­lice of­fi­cers man­ning the turn­stiles are ei­ther play­ing on their phones, watch­ing TV, or like one of our par­lia­men­tary cor­re­spon­dents wit­nessed last week, watch­ing a movie.

Since May 2014, per­haps to co­in­cide with the emer­gence of the EFF, and a vi­o­lent protest by #FeesMustFall ac­tivists which breached the perime­ter of the par­lia­men­tary com­plex a year later, more strin­gent se­cu­rity mea­sures were im­ple­mented.

Now when you ar­rive at Par­lia­ment’s vis­i­tors cen­tre you are sub­jected to long queues, as your ID is taken, and your pic­ture is cap­tured in ex­change for ac­cess to the build­ing.

But three days ago, the best se­cu­rity sys­tem got cir­cum­vented by an em­ployee who, his col­leagues said, was in­tent on con­fronting his man­ager who had in­formed him that his con­tract would be ter­mi­nated.

Hours af­ter the in­ci­dent, politi­cians were point­ing the fin­ger at the SAPS, ques­tion­ing how a gun could have been brought onto the par­lia­men­tary precinct, avoid­ing the gaze of ac­cess con­trol which is manned by po­lice of­fi­cers.

Now Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Khehla Si­tole will be sum­moned to Par­lia­ment to ex­plain the lat­est se­cu­rity breach at the com­plex. Politi­cians will be de­mand­ing that heads should roll over this breach, which could have ended in more than one life lost in a precinct that is sup­posed to be among our na­tion’s safest ar­eas, and which gives voice to the democ­racy which we cher­ish.

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