The presiding officers of Parliament are assuring the citizens of South Africa that all efforts will be made to limit any disruption of the business of Parliament following the fire that gutted parts of the Parliamentary precinct today.
Source: SA Parliament
The fire that destroyed parts of Parliament today came at a critical time when Parliament's preparations for hosting the 2022 State of the Nation Address and Budget speech are at an advanced stage.
The presiding officers have confirmed that these flagship programmes of Parliament will not be affected by this unfortunate incident.
The Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the chairpersons of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mr Amos Masondo commended the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services for their swift response. "Had it not been for their prompt response, the damage could have been much worse. They responded within six minutes after they were called and alerted," said the presiding officers.
Fire under control
The firefighters fought the blaze throughout the day, bringing the fire in the NCOP offices under complete control, and continued to battle the flames in the NA chamber and some offices that were severely gutted by fire.
Significant damage has been caused to the New Assembly Wing, which includes the NA Chamber. The fire in these areas has almost been extinguished.
The presiding officers will meet with all stakeholders tomorrow, including the Minister of Public Works, Ms Patricia De Lille, to take stock of the incident and assess the damage.
The presiding officers have also appreciated the role of the President of the Republic, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, and his Ministers, Mr Mondli Gungubele and Ms Patricia De Lille, the Deputy Minister of SA Security Services, Mr Zizi Kodwa, as well as officials and Members of Parliament who visited the scene to assess the damage and to offer moral support to the emergency services personnel.
The presiding officers, who have urged the law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in establishing the cause of the incident, have welcomed the swift arrest of a man, 49, in connection with the incident.
They have appealed for calm, cautioned against any speculation and encouraged everyone to afford the law enforcement authorities space to investigate and provide the much-needed conclusive information.