Preliminary report on Parliament fire to be released on Friday

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A fire broke out at Parliament in Cape Town on 2 January 2022.
A fire broke out at Parliament in Cape Town on 2 January 2022.

Fire experts could not gain access to the old national assembly building on Monday due to the extensive heat from the fire that engulfed the historic building on Sunday.

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille said on Monday the team had to use a drone to get an understanding of the extent of the damage caused by the fire which engulfed the historic building on Sunday morning.

A 49-year-old man is reported to have been arrested in connection with the fire and is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

“This morning (Monday) the department has brought in a team of engineers that include electrical and structural engineers and an architect. The team could not access the building due to the high temperature which was still around 100 degrees celsius.

“They used a drone to access the building until the heat cools down. The fire experts have indicated that a preliminary report on the cause of the fire can be expected on Friday morning. This report will give an indication of the estimated cost in damages,” said De Lille at a media briefing on Monday.

De Lille said the CCTV cameras were operational in parliament when the incident took place. She said the cameras are manned by the SAPS.

“The problem is that there was no monitoring of the CCTV cameras on that fateful night. Obviously, there was a security breach so we will have to investigate why it was not picked up that there was somebody in the building on that night,” said De Lille.

Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo said that multi-pronged investigations were underway, and that no stone will be left unturned to get to the bottom of the cause of the fire.

“We wish to assure you that the state of the nation address and other planned parliamentary programmes will take place as scheduled. The precinct of parliament continues to be guarded by the police so anyone with information on the fire must bring such to the authorities instead of leading to people making wild speculations,” said Masondo.

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