Parliament’s presiding officers, National Assembly (NA) Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chair Amos Masondo, are satisfied with progress containing the fire which swept through parts of the parliamentary precinct and investigations currently underway.
They confirmed Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service Department teams, supported by a SA Air Force (SAAF) team from Air Force Base (AFB) Ysterplaat, have withdrawn from the area. Firefighters remained on site until yesterday (Thursday, 6 January) after containing the flare-up during the morning of Tuesday, a Parliament Communication service statement said.
The firefighters worked more than 71 hours to contain the fire. Over 300 men and women were deployed, 60 firefighting appliances and specialist aerial equipment was used during the three-day battle against the blaze.
The affected buildings have been handed to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (The Hawks) to investigate circumstances “around the unfortunate and devastating fire incident that started on Sunday”.
Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWEI) engineers are on site to determine if the affected buildings are safe for access. Investigators will access to the buildings once they receive confirmation from the multi-disciplinary team of engineers, including structural, electrical, and forensic experts it is safe.
Preparations for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 10 February are at an advanced stage with inspections of some alternate venues done. They include the Cape Town municipal chambers, Cape Town International Convention Centre and the town hall.
Inspections follow offers by Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town for the use of these venues for the SONA and the Budget speech.