Parliament Fire: MPs must carry on with their work, says the ANC’s Pemmy Majodina
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ANC parliamentary chief whip Pemmy Majodina says nothing is stopping MPs from carrying out their duties despite damages caused to the national legislature by the fire that broke out in Parliament early on Sunday morning.
Speaking to the media outside Parliament, Majodina said as the governing party and Parliament officials they would not give up on carrying out their mandate.
“We as the MPs are to do our work even if we go on top of Table Mountain or into the fields. We are to do our work and make it a point that we change the lives of the people,” Majodina said.
“If this fire is meant to make us not to focus, hard luck but we are to do our work,” she added.
Majodina also said the law should take its course and that the enforcement agencies should not leave any stone unturned in their investigations.
She called on the public to stop speculating on the cause of the fire, which broke out in the Old Assembly and spread to the National Assembly.
“What is worrying is the amount of speculation,” she said, noting references made about the Zondo report that is meant to be sent to Parliament.
Majodina also revealed that the entire block of offices for ANC MPs and offices of National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula were destroyed by the fire.
“My office has gone up in flames for the second time. The caucus room is for the first time, but most offices that are affected are the ANC offices,” she said.
Majodina added that they were devastated but insisted that they would carry on with their work.
“We are to do our parliamentary work. We are to play our oversight role,” she said.
She noted documents in their offices were damaged but said they could be sourced from the archives.
Majodina noted that it was the second fire in Parliament in less than a year and that an electrical fault was to blame for the previous incident.
She said the cooling system in the Old Assembly was not good, among other things.
“This is an old building and it does not have to expose us to such danger. If there is negligence by officials or security personnel, hard action must be taken.”
She said it was bad to see the institution burnt down.
“I am getting emotional. This is where South Africans pin their hopes.”
Majodina shot down the proposal that being mooted about the relocation of Parliament to Tshwane.
“That debate of moving Parliament has financial implications and constitutional implications. We do not have enough budget,” she said.
“We can’t prioritise the moving of Parliament when we have a high rate of unemployment , or while we have under-development and inequality,” Majodina said.
In a swipe at those rejoicing that the fire gutted parts of Parliament, Majodina said: “I don’t think it is proper. People must be ashamed of that. This is our institution. This is our heritage.”