South Africa Police Probe Possible Connection to Parliament & Court Building Attacks

Two investigations have found serious deficiencies in safety procedures in South Africa’s Parliament building that was seriously damaged by fire this week. Police are also looking into whether the attack on the Constitutional Court building was connected to the alleged arson.

The 138 year-old building has been handed back to the political authorities by the Cape Town Fire Brigade.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothabo said more than 300 firefighters using 60 specialist pieces of equipment had displayed “unspeakable courage” in extinguishing the blaze on Sunday which reignited on Monday.

HOW BATTLE WAS WON: Over 71 hours of couragepus and brave battle to contain #ParliamentFire by over 300 men and women, 60 firefighting appliances and two specialised aerial equipments deployed. #SaluteToFirefighters Siyabonga. Re a leboga! — Moloto Mothapo (@MolotoMothapo) January 5, 2022

Cape Town Station Commander J.J. Williams produced a report of his own observations for Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula and Cape Town Mayor Gordon Hill Lewis.

Williams found the fire doors had been latched open allowing the free spread of flames throughout the building.

He also found that the sprinkler system had not been serviced and that some sprinklers had been turned off.

Independent audit

An independent audit in 2018 found Parliament did not meet occupational, health and safety standards.

OHSA Health and Safety Consultants found little had been done to protect the building in the event of the fire.

The consultants carried out a security, health and environment study in terms of the Occupational Health and Security Act and found that no approved safety policy was evident nor had any safety management system been identified.