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Man arrested for smashing computer screens at parliament visitors' centre

16 September 2019 - 18:34 By Andisiwe Makinana
Parliament's visitors' centre closed early on Monday after an enraged man damaged computers and other equipment.
Parliament's visitors' centre closed early on Monday after an enraged man damaged computers and other equipment.
Image: GCIS

Parliament suffered a security breach on Monday, resulting in at least five computer monitors being smashed and its visitors' centre closing earlier than usual.

According to eyewitnesses, an angry male visitor to parliament, thought to be in his 50s, went on the rampage by damaging the computers and other equipment when his demand to meet police minister Bheki Cele was not successful.

Parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo confirmed the incident.

The man came into the visitors' centre at around 3pm, demanding to see Cele, according to witnesses.

It turned out that he didn't have an appointment with the minister, as he could not provide details for it. When it was explained to him that he needed to have an appointment to meet the minister, the man lost his temper.

"All hell broke lose when he was told about the need for an appointment," said another source, who also witnessed the drama.

According to staff who witnessed the incident, the enraged man started shouting about how the police had destroyed him and his family. He then proceeded to grab computer screens and throw them on the floor. He also damaged camera equipment used to capture images of visitors for their day passes.

The man was eventually apprehended by parliament-based police, who used cables to tie him up until Cape Town central police officers arrived and handcuffed him.

"The man didn't look mentally well," said one official.

The visitors' centre locked its doors earlier than usual due to the incident.

In a statement, parliament confirmed that an "irate visitor went on a rampage and damaged five computers at the visitors’ centre in Cape Town".

"Parliamentary Protection Officers promptly brought him under control before he was arrested by the South African Police Service. Parliament has since restored the facilities of the visitors’ centre. The incident is being investigated," said Mothapo.