Cape Town firefighters have officially withdrawn from Parliament after containing and stopping the fire that ravaged the building and have handed it over to the Hawks for investigation.
The Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mr Amos Masondo, are satisfied with the overall progress made on the containment of fire and the investigations currently underway at the precinct of Parliament.
Parliament Fire Update: 05 January 2022
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for an independent forensic investigation into the fire that has destroyed the buildings of Parliament. Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone says the police themselves cannot investigate the incident.
The DA held a media briefing on Tuesday following the fire that has destroyed the entire National Assembly building and part of the Old Assembly building.
Mazzone says they will insist at the meeting of the Chief Whips Forum that independent investigators work alongside police forensic investigators.
“We have seen forensic investigators on the precinct this (Tuesday) morning. But we do believe that an independent forensic investigation is needed. From the damage and the devastation that we can see and the damage and devastation that we cannot see and the last statement by the Speaker, it looks like something more sinister than simply a homeless man jumping the fence and starting a fire on the third floor. It is looking like something more sinister going on and we will get to the bottom of it believe you me.”
Parliament says that preparations for the State of the Nation Address SONA) to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 10 February 2022 are at an advanced stage.
On Thursday afternoon, the Presiding Officers will join the Mayor of the City of Cape Town on inspection of the possible alternative venues, such as the Municipal Chambers, Cape Town International Convention Centre, and the Town Hall.
The inspection follows the offer by the provincial government of the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town for the use of these venues for both the SONA and the Budget speech.
Meanwhile, the Congress of the People (COPE) is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the Nation and Parliament virtually from the Union Buildings during his State of the Nation Address.
SABC News’ Parliamentary correspondent Mercedes Besent spoke to Parliament’s spokesperson on an alternative venue for SONA: