First part of Parliamentary fire report completed


The bulk of a preliminary assessment and report on fire damage to two buildings in the Parliamentary precinct are complete according to Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

Large parts of the New National Assembly Building and the Old Assembly Building were extensively damaged by fire on 2 and 3 January.

Work to date was done by Coega Development Consortium (CDC), the service provider contracted by De Lille’s department.

Briefing media in Cape Town this week De Lille said the basement floors of the New Assembly Building are flooded and further inspection has to be done before any decision on whether to demolish or rebuild is taken.

“The assessment confirmed the fire in the National Assembly Building caused significant damage to central structural elements from the second up to the sixth floor, but structural integrity is such that the structure is not vulnerable to collapse,” SAnews reports De Lille as saying.

The CDC report designates three zones – red, amber and green – in the National Assembly Building and their status for police forensic and other investigations.

Green zones are fairly lightly structurally damaged areas which may be accessed immediately by “a properly inducted SAPS (SA Police Service) team following defined safety protocols”.

Amber zones are badly damaged areas which may be accessed almost immediately by similar SAPS teams accompanied by a CDC structural team member.

Red zones are severely damaged “no-go” zones off limits to police investigative teams.

Short-to-intermediate term safety measures will be put in place to safeguard personnel and remaining portions of the structure once police investigations are complete.

According to De Lille the Coega team is on track to start the second phase – a detailed assessment to determine the extent of damage for full restoration of the building, including providing a cost and time estimate. “It should take three weeks to conclude after forensic investigations are over.”

CDC’s detailed assessment report will be communicated to the media and public when finalised and will include: a detailed assessment report indicating extent of damage and other structural issues; pronouncement on the residual strength of the structure, including relevant tests and analysis; proposed restorative measures with cost comparisons for restoration; a proposed time estimate for the rehabilitation project; proposed preliminary cost estimate of rehabilitation; and a pronouncement on possible long term restorative measures.