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Safety issues raised after parliamentary official shoots himself

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says the incident goes beyond firearm control and is also about the general wellness of employees.

Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Safety issues in the national legislature have been raised after a parliamentary official killed himself.

The drama unfolded in Parliament on Friday morning when the official is said to have shot himself while sitting in his office.

Scores of Parliament employees gathered outside in the precinct when the news broke.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says the incident goes beyond firearm control and is also about the general wellness of employees.

He says the priority should now be the victim’s family.

“Parliament needs to be a weapon-free zone, and weapons on the precinct needs to be stored in safe facilities. But the primary focus is on the victim’s family.”

Speaker Baleka Mbete and her NCOP counterpart Thandi Modise have both registered their shock upon hearing the news.

They say the incident has caused trauma and distress among Parliament’s members of staff and the necessary assistance is being arranged to help those in need.

Further details will be provided once the family of the deceased has been informed.

If this article has raised issues for you or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)