NEHAWU calls for release of final report on Parliament fire

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The National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) in Parliament says it wants the rebuilding of the Old and New National Assembly buildings and the release of the fire report to happen simultaneously.

However, Parliament says the report will be released when all the processes have been concluded.

It’s more than 19 months since the fire that gutted the two buildings in January last year.

Visuals of Parliament roof on fire : Mercedes Besent

This led to the severe damage of the National Assembly building and the total collapse of the chamber.

Zandile Mafe who is accused of starting the fire remains behind bars.

Internal investigations commissioned by the Presiding Officers of Parliament were also conducted.

SABC News reporter Mercedes Besent captures fire flaring up again


The Parliamentary precinct is currently a hive of construction activity as the first phase rebuilding and the assessment of the two buildings have started in earnest.

Parliament’s Spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo says, “We are on the second week of rubble removal. The contractors are working day and night around the clock to ensure that the work is speeded up as much as possible, because these are very important Houses that are critical to the constitutional function of Parliament, the National Assembly in particular, so, this rubble removal will continue until October at the same time that this work is taking place.”

Mothapo adds, ”There is also a team of assessors who are assessing the stability of the structures inside, to determine whether they should be demolished or whether they should be maintained as part of the preparation of the construction of the National Assembly. So, that work is continuing simultaneously because, once they are done with the assessment of the structural stability and the strength, then they will be able to  make a determination on how the design of the new structure will be, come next year 2024 February, the actual work of construction starts.”

NEHAWU Chairperson in Parliament S’thembiso Tembe says the union is relieved about the latest developments, but it also wants accountability for the negligence that led to a fire that could have been prevented.

“We are happy about the restoration face about Parliament. We are happy about that, because it brings hope. At least a number of employees will be able to come back once the rebuilding is concluded, but we are not happy, because up until now we don’t know who are the culprits. We know that the burning of Parliament would not have occurred if certain decisions by certain members of management of Parliament were not taken.”

“And I think it would be wrong if we would proceed as if nothing happened. So, we believe that the rebuilding face must also go hand in hand with the consequence management in terms of taking actions against those people who are responsible”, Tembe added.


Tembe says while NEHAWU welcomes the start of the rebuilding of the two historical parliamentary buildings, it also wants to see the final fire report being released, urgently.

“And we know as we are here, there was an investigation that was conducted. We know because as a union we went there to give evidence. We were the complainants as well as the union where we said the investigation should be conducted. So, we expect a report to be issued. we will definitely approach the secretary to Parliament formally. We will write to him to fast track the issuing of the report. We are happy about the rebuilding but we are  not happy that up until now, we are not happy that up until now we are not happy about the day. And the public as well because the money that is being used here  to rebuild parliament is from the public purse. So, the  public of the republic of South Africa has got the right to know exactly what happened so that  an action should be taken. but also to ensure that in future we avoid  similar consequences and situation”

However, Mothapo says the fire report will be released when its ready as this is a complex process: “It’s a very sensitive legal process. and once that process has been (concluded), it cannot be rushed. Once that process has been concluded, the internal stakeholders will be informed. But we also want to add that , because now as you would have seen, it’s been a hive of activity here in Parliament with the return of members from the constituency programme. Provision has been made on the both the fourth and the fifth floor in 90 Plein Street, with regard to the construction and renovation that will create more sufficient space for the  physical return of member of Parliament.”

Mothapo says the actual construction of the National and Old Assembly buildings is expected to start in February next year, it will take two years before completion.