Durban - Six months ago, South Africans watched in horror as a blaze ripped through the Old Assembly building, lapping part of the New National Assembly.
Six months later and there is still no news on the investigation. The fire began on Sunday, January 2, and was contained however it reignited the next day.
At the time, Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the roof where the flare-up occurred during the course of the night has completely collapsed.
“There are several floors of offices where MPs sit which have been completely damaged as well. The fourth and fifth floors have been completely damaged as a result of the fire,” Mothapo said.
The South African Heritage Resources Agency said there was a loss of historical value in the precinct.
“The materials that have been destroyed cannot and will not ever be replaced. What we can do with our best efforts is to try and restore it to a state in which it was before. Where we can’t restore we can consult with members of Parliament and greater members of the public as to what should be replaced there,” SAHRA’s Ben Mwasinga said.
He added that the structural damage to the buildings is quite extensive, the entire roof of the Old Assembly has been destroyed and the structure of the National Assembly has been damaged.
“What has been damaged now cannot and will not be replaced as these are historical items and the materials that were used to construct these buildings at that time will not be found in this day and age,” Mwasinga explained.
Meanwhile, the man accused of starting the fire, Zandile Mafe, is expected back in court on August 12.
Mafe is charged with housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson.