Parliament fire: Final report on reconstruction to be released in September

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  • A final report on the reconstruction to rebuild the gutted National Assembly building will be presented to Parliament in September.
  • National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the National Prosecuting Authority have received copies of the report.
  • On 2 January, a fire gutted the National Assembly building, damaging some offices on the ground floor.

The final report on the reconstruction of the ruined National Assembly building will only be made public in September, 10 months after a fire gutted the historic building.

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have received copies of the report.

But ordinary MPs will have to wait a little longer to peruse it.

Since the fire broke out on 2 January, yellow police tape and fencing barricades have restricted access to the damaged building.

READ | SIU still to recover R1.3 billion linked to public works corruption, says De Lille

According to Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, challenges with the parliamentary programme have delayed the publication of the final report.

In February, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure appointed the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) as the independent specialist engineering team to assess the damage.

"I received the final report from Coega on Friday, 20 May 2022. The report was handed over to the Speaker of the National Assembly on 23 May, to convene the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament. On 26 May 2022, the report was handed over to the NPA. A meeting was held with the Speaker on 21 June 2022 for Coega to brief her," De Lille told News24.

Thick smoke rising from Parliament building
Smoke rising out of the National Assembly building as firefighters battled the blaze at Parliament.

Parliament went into recess on 15 June and will reopen on 15 August.

De Lille said the joint standing committee meeting had, thus, been scheduled for September.

"I cannot make the report public until Parliament has been briefed," she added.

During a meeting in May, Christo Beukes, the programme manager at CDC, told MPs they requested an extension for the submission of the report due to the extent of water damage identified in the Old Assembly building.

This, he said, required further detailed assessments of the entire building.

The full extent of the damage, whether the building should be repaired or taken down and rebuilt, and what it will cost, will form part of the second phase report.

Beukes said the second phase of the report would provide indicative timelines for the planning and construction stages for the restoration work for each building.

The fire gutted the National Assembly building, damaging some offices on the ground floor. The entrance lobby suffered some damage due to intense heat and smoke, but no structural damage.

The government forked out more than R300 000 for specialists to do "a detailed assessment".

READ | Parliament fire: National Assembly wing severely damaged but won't collapse - preliminary assessment

The CDC is a public entity, wholly owned by the Eastern Cape government, and is mandated to develop and operate the 9003-Special Economic Zone.

Zandile Mafe was arrested in connection with the January fire, and the case is currently before the courts.

In the indictment which the State gave to his lawyer, Nikiwe Nyathi, it alleges he accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of funding rhino horn poaching, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula took a substantial amount of money from the Road Accident Fund to pay for ANC election T-shirts, and the South African government gave the US government trillions for Americans to get their social grants.

He also claimed Ramaphosa gave R1.7 trillion to help refugees from other countries, but the president and Parliament did not care about the poor in South Africa.

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