South Africa

Trauma and distress after parliamentary officer takes his own life in precinct

By News 24 & Daily Maverick Reporter 14 September 2018
Caption
An emergency services van seen in the Parliamentary precinct on Friday 14 September 2018. Photo: Leila Dougan

A parliamentary official died - after allegedly shooting himself - while at work on Friday.

A parliamentary official committed suicide in the Parliamentary precinct, according to a statement released by Parliament on Friday afternoon.

The man, in his 50s, shot himself in his office on the second floor of the 90 Plein Street building, it was reported widely via witnesses at parliament.

The shooting took place while Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana was addressing the portfolio committee in the adjacent Marks Building.

Minutes after the shooting, the second floor of the 90 Plein Street building has been cordoned off and emergency workers and police were on the scene while staff members were concerned about the security breach as entry to the precinct without declaring firearms to officers stationed at the entrance to parliamentary buildings is strictly prohibited.

An official who wished to remain anonymous told Times live that a gunshot was heard. “We were just next door having a staff meeting and we just heard one gun shot and everybody started screaming.”

SABC News parliamentary reporter Lukhanyo Calata reported that the shooting happened just before noon. Shots were heard.

The official statement provided no details, but said that Parliament was in the process of informing the family members of the deceased and the incident had “obviously, caused trauma and distress among parliaments members of staff and the institution as a whole”.

ANC parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo said he was unable to provide clarity about whether the deceased used a firearm. “We did not say it’s a gun that caused it. The whole thing will be investigated by the police. The police will investigate and confirm, I’m not a police officer, I can’t divulge those details at the moment, the police will do so once they’ve done their work,” said Mothapo.

Necessary assistance is being arranged to help them to come to terms with the tragedy. Further details will be provided once the family has been informed,” said the statement. DM

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