Parliament chooses not to respond to ‘damaging statements’ surrounding employee’s suicide

Parliament has chosen not to respond to the “damaging statements” surrounding the suicide of parliamentary manager Lennox Garane and his note saying it was a protest against 20 months of bullying.

“Parliament would prefer not to respond to damaging statements made following the funeral service held over the weekend in Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape‚” it said on Tuesday.

Garane‚ 57‚ shot himself in his office September 14. He was a section manager in the international relations and protocol division.

His note was handed to mourners at a memorial service. Headed “It’s A Protest Suicide”‚ it described how his life became a misery after a former ANC MP was appointed as his manager.

Garane said he had submitted a grievance‚ but the man to whom the “unrepentant bully” reported had refused to consider it. He said parliament was “a political environment‚ which I interpreted as meaning political appointees ... were free to do as they wished with lives of those below them”.

Garane said he had also complained to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise.

When nothing came of that‚ “in desperation‚ I submitted a protected disclosure to the parliament committee responsible for oversight over parliament administration”.

Garane added: “All this time‚ [my manager] continued abusing and isolating me — a psychologically and emotionally wrecking experience ... a pure devil-inspired act.

“Twenty months on‚ I could not take it any more — I had to resort to this protest action to get the message across to the perpetrators and protectors of unfairness.”

Parliament warned against publishing the names of those involved in “untested allegations”.

“This borders on irresponsibility and may also be defamatory.”

Parliament said it would conduct an investigation into the incident to ensure that “the institution is able to address all the factors that contributed to the late Lennox Garane taking his own life”.

It urged anyone with information to come forward.

“It will help Parliament address what happened and also assist Parliament to prevent any such occurrence in the future.”

Parliament also reiterated its commitment to help the Garane family find closure.

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