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Public Works maintains inspections were done on parliamentary fire equipment

A fire gutted the National Assembly and Old Assembly. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

A fire gutted the National Assembly and Old Assembly. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 14, 2022

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Cape Town - The Public Works and Infrastructure Department said on Friday it was comforted that it has carried out the necessary intervention in repairs and inspections on fire and security equipment in Parliament.

Briefing the MPs on the fire that gutted the National Assembly and Old Assembly, acting director general Imtiaz Faizel said inspections and certification of the facility were done irrespective of whether there was to be the Nation Address (Sona) or not.

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“What gives us comfort is we had necessary intervention and certifications,” Faizel said.

His colleague Thembeka Kolele said the inspections and certifications were part and parcel of the maintenance requirements that were performed in the parliamentary precinct.

Kolele said as part of the Sona preparations, buildings were assessed by the fire department of the City of Cape Town for bylaws relating to community safety.

“These inspection reports are provided to identify and address deficiencies,” she aid.

She told the MPs that overdue servicing of a sprinkler system was not raised in the 2020 or 2021 Cape Town’s fire department pre-Sona reports.

“DPWI may not speak on the 2022 report as this relates to an active investigation.”

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However, she said once all servicing was completed, the department submitted the maintenance certificates to the provincial joint operations and intelligence stricture ahead of Sona.

“This is the procedure followed ahead of the 2019 (both February and June); 2020 and 2021 Sona events.”

She said the department could confirm and provide evidence that maintenance of the fire safety equipment was carried out annually.

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“Maintenance certificates from January 2021 and November 2021 confirm that “all fire safety equipment is in good working order” in both the National Assembly and Old Assembly Buildings,” she said.

Kolele also said the annual maintenance certificates for the National Assembly and Old Assembly Buildings also confirm that “all fire safety equipment is in good working order” as well as for all other Parliamentary buildings that were assessed in May and November 2021.

She told the MPs that an electrical fault in the Old Assembly building caused the fire in March 2021.

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“The sprinklers activated to reduce fire damage, but caused water damage on lower floors. The sprinklers and other fire safety systems were subsequently repaired after the fire (April, August and Oct 2021) and confirmed operational.”

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Political Bureau

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