November 14, 2018

Letter to the editor

November 07, 2018

Thank you for your October edition of Notes from the House. I did not personally know Lennox Garane but I certainly extend my sympathy and condolences to his family.

I have a small understanding of the problem that he was experiencing as I talk almost daily to members of the Parliamentary staff who feel they’ve been bullied and threatened by their seniors and managers. Many of the staff have come to know that I am a practicing labour lawyer and the word seems to have been spread that I am happy to give advice and to share some experiences with those who have been ill treated.

MARTINA DELLA TOGNA, former multimedia manager at Parliament, attended the most recent meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on the Oversight of the Financial Management of Parliament. She was joined by the sons of Lennox Garane, the parliamentary manager who recently committed suicide in his office. They were hoping to hear some answers from the Committee.

If the much-vaunted Party Political Funding Bill had managed to make its way through Parliament at the pace with which the Ad Hoc Committee passed it through the National Assembly last year it is probable that voters at next year’s poll would be able to take into account matters such as which party gained and exactly how much from the VBS banking saga, before placing that crucial cross.

The last we heard of proposed amendments to the Executive Members' Code of Ethics was back in 2011 when draft amendments to the Executive Members’ Ethics Act were published for public comment. This was intended to fill the gaps identified by then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. GARY PIENAAR and ASHLEY FISCHHOFF point out that right now we cannot be sure that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet have made timely and full disclosure.

Our Parliament is based very firmly on the Westminster model, an enduring reminder of our colonial past. But as no effort has so far been taken to replace it, we might as well make use of its hundreds more years of experience than we have had and, at least sometimes, take heed of it when we should.

I talk, of course, about the UK House of Commons’ investigation into allegations of bullying in the House of Commons.

The State Security Agency is still investigating a spate of armed attacks on members of the Competition Commission which took place over a period of four months last year. Parliament was told that the release of the SSA investigation report was “imminent,” but that was some weeks ago and nothing has been heard since.

I owe an apology to the family of Lennox Garane, the senior manager of one of Parliament’s international relations units who committed suicide in his office on 14 September.

Seasoned parliamentary journalist JAN-JAN JOUBERT looks at the painfully slow progress of a critical piece of legislation, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill and its protracted journey through the parliamentary process, and warns that there are too many delays in Parliament's key mandate, which is after all to pass legislation.

Buried under the outcry over an apparent security lapse at Parliament lies the fact that a staff member used a gun to kill himself, while sitting at his desk. Whatever there is to be said about security at Parliament, that is not the cause of this tragedy.

As the ANC stumbles towards the 2019 poll, it looks like there is a very real prospect that it may lose its majority in at least one province and see it contract at national level. Other parties who may then start thinking that they are in with a chance must realise that coalition politics are not only about becoming kingmakers, but can also be used for the good of the country. Research by MIKE LAW may provide some tips for our parties to take on board as they enter this new political arena.

Page 1 of 9

About Us

Notes from the House is an independent weekly email newsletter that tracks and monitors Parliament in its role of holding government to account and passing legislation to improve people’s lives. It aims to bring you the news from Parliament that you don’t get elsewhere. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

Latest Tweets

#parliamentodrsa in crisis. There is a committee to oversee its financial management but who oversees the political… https://t.co/1FDYQkbrCz
What's happened to the party funding bill. It was raced through parliament last year, in record time, ostensibly fo… https://t.co/s9fiWgGj9D
Follow Notes from the House on Twitter