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Parliament appoints independent team to probe fire

The fire that started on monday morning at Parliament's National Assembly Chamber has flared up again.Fire fighters are currently battling the fire. Picture : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

The fire that started on monday morning at Parliament's National Assembly Chamber has flared up again.Fire fighters are currently battling the fire. Picture : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 28, 2022

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Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has launched an independent investigation into the fire that caused extensive damage to Parliament a few weeks ago.

Mapisa-Nqakula told MPs that a team of external experts would be appointed to lead the investigation into the fire.

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She said this investigation would not overtake the one conducted by the police.

Zandile Mafe was arrested after a fire engulfed Parliament on January 2, damaging the National Assembly.

The Department of Public Works has yet to conclude the cost of the damage, but it is believed to be running into millions of rand.

Mapisa-Nqakula said this independent investigation would shed light on what happened on the night the fire caused damage to Parliament.

“The investigation will not be conducted by a multi-party entity. Rather, we will have an independent investigation and we’ll have a discussion with the minister. We have agreed with the Minister of Public Works that we have this investigation. Once the report comes out, the report becomes the report of Parliament. In other words, the report becomes the report of members of Parliament, who will therefore have the responsibility of discussing, analysing and chasing issues which would come out of that report,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

“Obviously, the investigation will tell us exactly what happened and then we take it from there. I think that honourable members should not be anxious about who conducts the investigation. When I say independent, what it means is that it will be outside of Parliament, outside of us. We will get a team of people who have the necessary expertise to do that. Already I am aware that the Minister of Public Works is hard at work with her teams to ensure that engineers from Public Works, once it is agreed upon, will go in and do an assessment of the extent of the damage,” she said.

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She said the extent of the damage has not been seen by officials and MPs.

What they have was footage from a drone that was deployed by the Department of Public Works.

“We hear the extent of the damage goes this far but no one has gone into the areas that have been completely destroyed because of the challenges that are there. Remember there is water, power, and so on,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

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