The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure has noted with shock that the buildings of Parliament, Old Assembly and National Assembly have been on fire since early yesterday morning.
The committee is saddened that the facilities of the apex institution of democracy have been damaged by fire and happens at a time when preparations for the State of the Nation Address which is planned to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February 2022 have reached an advanced stage.
The committee has consistently stated in its oversight reports that all government buildings have to undergo planned rather than ad hoc maintenance.
The committee calls for calm and to avoid speculations on the source of this devastating fire. Furthermore, the committee calls on South Africans to give emergency and fire services enough space to do their duty. “Let us ensure that we provide all the support we can offer to ensure that the adjacent buildings such as Tuynhuis where the Presidency has its Cape Town offices, remain protected,” said the Chairperson of the committee, Ms Nolitha Ntobongwana.
The committee eagerly awaits the investigations and reports into this disastrous incident and will ensure that a formal inquest into the cause of the fire is speedily undertaken. The committee also wants a full report on the fire incident that damaged the Old Assembly building of Parliament on 17 March 2021. It is important that the cause of both fires is established.
The committee wants to thank the security services and firefighters for their commitment to keeping the rest of the precinct safe and fighting the fire with everything at their disposal.