Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Ancy (ANA)

Parliament - Police are set to beef up security in and around the parliamentary precinct from October 1, after a manager at the legislature was able to get his firearm past security shortly before committing suicide earlier this month, MPs were told on Wednesday.

Briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on police, senior SA Police Service (SAPS) officials acknowledged gaps in security measures.

From Monday, people with permanent access cards will be required to produce them when entering and make them visible to police. All people will have to pass through a metal detector and only vehicles displaying a relevant parking disc will be granted access. In addition, all vehicles, including delivery vehicles, will be thoroughly searched.

Those with weapons will have to declare their firearms to a designated security official.

Earlier, SAPS' Major General Leon Rabie told members of parliament that manager Lennox Garane was allowed to enter the precinct without putting his bag through a scanner. The police officer on duty has since been placed on suspension and will be subjected to disciplinary steps.

Rabie said an assessment of security following Garane's death showed three metal detectors were not working, the layout of access control points was not "conducive for proper access control", and other facilities were not equipped to help officers carry out their duties.

Technology also needed to be updated, said Rabie.

"The cameras installed are not in sequence...which makes it difficult to follow intruders in parliamentary precinct," said Rabie.

In addition, parliament had a perimeter fence which was only 1.2 metres high, making it easier for an intruder to jump the fence. 

Currently, there are 334 police officers deployed as static protectors to Parliament.

African News Agency (ANA)