Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has described as criminal, attempts to set alight the Civitas Building that houses the national Department of Health in Pretoria.

Nxesi says a preliminary investigation has revealed that someone tampered with the electrical wiring, fire detectors, and ventilation systems. He has dismissed reports that the building is a death trap for workers.

This came as the Gauteng government grapples to establish the exact cause of a blaze that claimed the lives of three fire fighters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Nxesi says ulterior motives are at play.

“We are bound to suspect a hidden agenda at work here. Are we witnessing … we ask a question … new tactics in the fight against the state capture forces that Minister Gordhan talks about? After all, part of the state capture involves elements in the different areas even in the security apparatus; and suspected of being responsible for attacks on organizations seen to be fighting state capture. We are now in the era of what Minister Gordhan called Bell Pottinger 2, where individuals and ministers seen to be fighting state capture and corruption will be targeted on smear campaigns. The narrative is growing.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo who is the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will only deliver judgment in applications for leave to cross-exam witnesses next week.

On Wednesday, Justice Zondo heard submissions from various implicated persons to cross-examine some of the witnesses.

Zondo says he will decide on whether to grant Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta and Duduzane Zuma leave to cross-examine witnesses by next week.

“In regard to those, I reserve judgment. And once I’m ready to hand down the decision, I will let everybody know.”

Justice Zondo has since granted businessman Fana Hlongwane permission to cross-examine former deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former President Jacob Zuma’s chief of staff Lakela Kaunda to question Vytjie Mentor and as well as Hawks official Mandla Mtolo to also cross-examine Mentor.

The commission is set to resume on Monday, with the testimony of an official from Treasury.