CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, and Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula visited and thanked the firefighters who fought the Parliament blaze.
“It was a privilege to visit and give thanks to the firefighters today at the Roeland Street fire station, who fought relentlessly against the fire at Parliament earlier this week,” he wrote on Twitter after meeting them.
Winde, Hill-Lewis and Mapisa-Nqakula were pictured perched on a fully extended firefighting ladder with the Mother City’s Table Mountain pictured in the background.
It was a privilege to visit and give thanks to the firefighters today at the Roeland Street fire station, who fought relentlessly against the fire at Parliament earlier this week. #ParliamentFire pic.twitter.com/yM2NTwduiT— Premier Alan Winde (@alanwinde) January 5, 2022
“On behalf of all Capetonians, I thank and salute you for your bravery and professionalism. For you, it was just another day at work. For us — and indeed for all South Africans — it was a remarkable act of service, with historic ramifications,” Mayor Hill-Lewis said.
“We do not yet know the full extent of the damage at the National Parliament buildings, or what caused it. We do, however, know that but for your quick and professional response, the damage would have been much worse,” he adds.
The operation to subdue the blaze involved more than 71 hours, two specialised aerial appliances, 60 firefighting appliances, roughly 300 firefighters and was supported by a number of emergency agencies.
The 300 firefighters involved in the operation was above normal as opposed to those normally available to respond to emergencies.
The City of Cape Town reported on Christmas eve in a statement saying that 900 firefighters work on a three-shift rotational system that results in 190-230 firefighters being on call every day, all year round.
The fire on the National Assembly building began in the early hours of Sunday morning resulting in the roof collapsing, several floors of MP offices being destroyed as well as the fourth and fifth floors, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said on Tuesday according to IOL’s previous reports.
Furthermore, Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille revealed on Tuesday that no one was monitoring the CCTV cameras when the fire broke out.
Arsonist suspect 49-year-old Zandile Mafe appeared in court on Tuesday on a number of charges and will appear in court again next week, while a preliminary report into the fire is expected this week.