Parliament has apologised for the inconvenience caused by the suspicious package that was left unattended on the precinct outside the 90 Plein Building on Wednesday morning.
It has since been removed from the precinct by the police. Earlier police had to redirect staff, guests and the media to enter the precinct through other entrances. The package was wrapped with plastic, marked fragile and resembled the shape of a small coffin.
Parliament says the precinct remains safe, “ The South African Police noticed a suspicious package left unattended at the Parliamentary Precinct and immediately engaged normal safety protocols by its bomb disposal specialists, including cordoning off the immediate vicinity. While the police remain at the precincts and are undertaking necessary precautionary measures. Parliament remains very safe and confirms that there is no immediate danger posed to the Parliamentary Community at all. And we apologise for any inconvenience that this may have caused this morning, regarding access by the members of Parliament, staff and guests to the institution”, says Parliament’s Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.
However, there is still no confirmation on who the package belonged to. The discovery of the package happened at a time when the Section 194 inquiry into suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office resumed on Wednesday morning.
The hearing is continuing with Mkhwebane attending the proceedings on the Parliamentary precinct in person, while her legal representative Dali Mpofu is on a virtual platform.
Members of the National Assembly are also attending a weeklong workshop in the Good Hope Chamber. Parliament says it’s a capacity building workshop.
Members of Parliament will soon vote virtually
The workshop is looking into various ways to capacitate MPs.
Parliament says one of the announcements made at the workshop by National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Tuesday, related to measures that would allow MPs to vote virtually.
“Members of Parliament attending the House through the virtual platform will soon be able to vote during hybrid sitting that require voting. Thus far, it has not been possible for members to vote on the virtual platform since Parliament adopted the hybrid house sitting format. The introduction of the new system will address this challenge. The Speaker said that, given the growing role and use of technology, it was imperative that significant attention is paid to the development of technical competencies so that members can effectively use technological tools in their daily responsibilities. As our democracy matures, Parliament is required to always have the capacity to navigate emerging challenges and to continuously improve its institutional capacity to execute its mandate,” said Parliament in a statement.