JOHANNESBURG- Sithembiso Garane, son of Lennox Garane, the parliamentary manager who shot himself dead in his office a week ago launched a scathing attack on Parliament and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) at his father’s funeral yesterday.
Garane junior put the blame for his father’s death squarely on the hands of his employer and further accused Nehawu bosses of pursuing their own selfish interests at the expense of employees.
Garane left a note saying that his suicide was a protest against 20-months of bullying.
The note from the 57-years-old, Lennox Garane‚ a section manager in parliament’s international relations and protocol division‚ was handed to mourners at a memorial service last week.
Headed “It’s A Protest Suicide”‚ described how his life became a misery after former
ANC MP was appointed as manager in Parliament. However, at his funeral yesterday,
his son took the matter further and came out guns blazing, demanding justice for his
Sithembiso said that although his father’s job as a Senior Manager in parliament came at a significant financial downgrade compared to his prior position from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), he was happy doing that because he thought his contribution would be far greater in that institution.
“Little did he know that Parliament was the pinnacle of suppression, intimidation and trampling of human rights. My father has never tolerated unfair treatment and for that cause, he was always ready to stand alone against those far more powerful & resourced – he has the history to prove this,” said Sithembiso.
It was also revealed that Lennox had suffered a stroke in April 2015, during a meeting at his working place.
“During this period, he received official assistance from parliament while some of his colleagues were saying (without any shame) that they wished he had died. And we know them by their full names”.
According to Sithembiso, Lennox was in dispute with parliament for the past 20-months for reasons that he said were far remote from his contract expiry.
“Parliament was aware of this, however, they chose, directly and indirectly, to lie to the public by reducing my father’s death to a contract dispute. We wish to state it frankly that, such insinuation is an insult to him in his death and to all of us who survive him,” Garane junior said.
“I believe it is also an insult to all his colleagues who still endure the same treatment he was fighting against. It is, therefore, an opportune time to call on all those suffering in silence to be quiet no more.
Sithembiso said that their fathers’ blood will not be at peace until justice is served. “I have met many parliamentary staff over the past few days who told me that ‘We saw it all – we can attest to your father’s victimisation, suppression and blackballing’. To say that a contract non-renewal which he only became aware of on the 31 Aug was the reason couldn’t be far from the truth”.
Sithembiso has called on NEHAWU branch in Parliament to isolate reactionary leaders who are hellbent on using union positions to further their careers.
“I was personally disgusted when I sat at a memorial service in Parliament and listened to the leader of NEHAWU, Mr Tembe, take an obvious position on my father’s death. I need to make it known that my father’s last sentence of the last text to Tembe was ‘I trust that you will be truthful to your conscience at the right time’. Mr Tembe, who was also my father’s subordinate, had long colluded with Mr Sithole to undermine my father’s authority. My father was fully aware of this. Tembe truly knows which side his bread is buttered. NEHAWU and Parliament staff, in general, should quickly rid itself of such characters that compromise its stature in the eyes of its members. Some leaders neglect principles when the stomach is growling”.
The Garane family further rebuked with contempt Parliament RSA handling of Lennox’s death – from releasing his name to the media without the family approval to the reasons communicated as triggers of the incident.
“It is very convenient for Parliament to now ventilate the fact that my father did not get along with Job Sithole, his immediate principal. The same Parliament fails to inform the public that Lennox has gone through all humanly possible avenues in an attempt to arrest the situation. All his attempts, he informed us, were thwarted by a gentleman called Adv Phindela in cohorts with a certain Ms Tyawa who told him in no uncertain terms to go to CCMA if he had any grievance. He also told us that this Sithole character enjoys unquestionable favour from the highest office in Parliament, the Speaker’s Office,”.
“On the 26th June 2018, Our father escalated his grievance to the Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management Co-chaired by V Smith and M Monakedi. This was after the presiding officers, Ms Mbete and Modise’s failed to deal with his complaint against Ms Tyawa. The list of individuals involved and enabling corrupt and/or unjust practices in Parliament are S. September, S Nyenyiso, DJ Sithole, Adv Phindela and Ms Tyawa. Our opinion as a family is that these individuals along with others mentioned in the documents my father prepared must be immediately put on leave pending the inquest
suggested by Dep Speaker Tsenoli. We are aware that Phindela and Sithole believe they are untouchable and Ms Tyawa is just a lackey”.
According to Sithembiso, Lennox told them that the whole system in parliament was broken, he was despondent and did not believe that there was any will by all charged with the responsibility to change the situation, rather, maintaining this system was to their benefit because it kept them powerful.
“My father’s death should be seen exactly as he said it was – A PROTEST SUICIDE. Certainly not a protest against contract non-renewal but a protest against (1.) politicisation of administration, (2.) gross abuse of power, (3.) complete disregard of human rights and dignity,”.
“During the memorial service, the acting Secretary of Parliament attributed some of Parliament’s shortcomings to the apartheid government. I hope for your sake Madame that South Africans are indeed as stupid as you think. The blame is squarely on the Parliament. The apartheid government didn’t appoint Sithole with obvious historical misdemeanours and grand lack of senior management experience and inadequate educational qualification,”.
Sithembiso further revealed that his father’s documents showed that the Audit Committee investigation report had already found the interview panel (Phindela, Lizo Makele and Tyawa) as having contravened parliament’s recruitment policy in the appointment of the CIO, Ms Mtya, and recommended disciplinary action against them.
The Garane Family said that they will seek justice for against the parliament and we will stop at nothing to realise that and they have also welcomed the announcement by the deputy Speaker Tsenoli that there would be an inquest to Lennox’s death.
The family further said that the inquest should be structured such that the influence of the presiding officers is completely curtailed as they have not done anything over the last 20 months. If vindicated, they will also call on MP’s to immediately remove the presiding officers, both Mbete and Modise for having failed to execute their responsibility.
“As the Garane Family, we obviously do not have the machinery to fight this evil force. We thus call on all concerned to expend all energy in fixing our rotten parliament. Nelson Mandela once said ‘I have fought against White domination, and I have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die’. 24 years after our independence, my father has laid his life against BLACK DOMINATION. Shame on you all whose hearts are filled with self-hatred and
minds with evil. May God judge you accordingly,”.