One year after Parliament fire, restoration has yet to start


(Picture: City of Cape Town)

It’s a year since the devastating Parliament fire.

The inferno tore through at least five floors of the National Assembly and the adjacent Old Assembly wing, collapsing the roof and gutting offices.

In a statement Parliaments presiding officers say they are indebted to the extraordinary and selfless efforts of the firefighters for their prompt response. It acknowledges that they prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the building and causing even greater damage.

It’s projected that it will cost more than R2 billion and take at least three years to restore Parliament to its former self. The money has already been made available by Treasury and a further R118 million has been allocated to the national legislature to deal with interim relocation costs.

At least one person, Zandile Mafe has been arrested in connection with the fire. He is facing charges of arson and terrorism. He is expected to appear in the Cape High Court later this month. But his legal representatives have maintained that the homeless man is being used as a scapegoat for the State’s failures.

A report compiled by the City’s Fire and Rescue Service revealed that there were a number of problems regarding Parliament’s fire safety system. Among them was that the sprinklers were last serviced in 2017 and the sprinkler control valve on the southern part of the Old Assembly Building did not activate.

The National Assembly’s sprinkler valve was also not serviced and appeared to be closed.

The Fire Service also did not receive any fire alarm from both buildings.

However the City says it’s not an official fire report on the incident, but is for information purposes and provided observations of the fire safety officers who worked on the scene.


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