Parliament's security still not drunk-teen proof
The youngster spent the night in the legislature, right under the noses of the police VIP unit
Parliament has introduced tight security checks but that did not prevent a 17-year old boy bypassing these to spend a drunken night at one of the parliamentary buildings where opposition MPs are stationed.
According to well-placed officials familiar with the matter, the security breach took place a fortnight ago when the teenager from Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats jumped over one of the gates at the entrance to parliament to find a place to sleep after a drunken night in the city centre following “a fun walk”.
The teen sneaked into parliament’s Marks building undetected during the night of Sunday September 30 despite the 24-hour presence of members of the police VIP protection unit, which is tasked with guarding the parliamentary precinct.
The incident occurred just days after parliament put in place strict security measures resembling those applied at airports following another security breach when an official managed to smuggle in a firearm he later used to committee suicide in his parliamentary office.
The VIP unit members only nabbed the teenager in the early hours of the next day when he presented himself to them, asking for a way out of the building.
They handed him over the Cape Town Central police station on a trespassing charge.
The boy’s mother, who cannot be named to protect her minor son’s identity, said he was intoxicated throughout the episode.
“When the security officer saw him, he told him akuhanjwa apha [you can’t walk here]. My son responded yho, ngoku bendilele apha? [wow, while I slept here],” said the parent.
She claimed her son had not been the only one under the influence at parliament, saying his friends left him behind in his slumber when they exited the institution undetected.
The Grade 10 pupil later appeared in the Khayelitsha Children’s Court where he was released on a warning.
A police spokesperson claimed the youngster only entered parliament because he was running away from assailants, but they were still investigating.
“From the video footage it appears he was being chased by two men and he entered the premises to seek help,” said Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, adding that he was not aware that the boy had spent the night in parliament.
Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the police had informed them about the alleged security breach.
Mothapo said the institution’s presiding officers – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise, chair of the National Council of Provinces – were concerned about the matter and were awaiting a police report on what transpired.