Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Ancy (ANA)
A week after a middle manager at Parliament committed suicide at his office, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have called for the powers of senior managers, specifically to decide on the renewal of contracts, to be reined in.

Lennox Garane, 57, had become incensed, according to his colleagues, because his employment contract had not been renewed.

Nehawu’s Parliament branch chairperson Sthembiso Tembe said despite initial calls for security to be reviewed at the parliamentary precinct, after a gun was sneaked in, there were deeper issues at play.

“The issue of security is one that is a major concern for us (as a union). Last year, we had three or four break-ins. There were two at the National Council of Provinces, one at the SABC offices, and another one on the fourth floor of 90 Plein Street,” said Tembe.

On Wednesday, Parliament’s police portfolio committee was expected to grill National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole over security breaches at the institution.

“What happened was bound to happen because we also believe that there are security lapses. Also in terms of the security services, we’ve got two types of security officers (working at Parliament),” said Tembe.

On the Tuesday before his suicide, Garane had sent a text message to Tembe asking for his intervention, while threatening to take his own life.

In his suicide note, he complained about “many things”, according to Tembe, especially the fact that his contract was not being renewed.

Tembe said the issue of contracts at Parliament has been “a ticking time bomb” because there were those on fixed-term contracts while others were on performance contracts.

“The best way is to have a standardised regime. We are also calling for the management panel which should be looking at the pros and cons of whether a contract should be renewed,” said Tembe.

Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, who spoke at Garane’s memorial service, said Parliament’s systems had to be responsive.

“Perhaps this death is a crude and tragic manifestation that they may not be appropriately responsive. We have agreed that we’ll try and do an independent investigation on what led to this unfortunate development,” said Tsenoli.

He said the investigation would lead to changes in how things were handled by management.

Political Bureau