Engineers detect heat on basement inside fire-damaged Parliament

Structural engineers tasked to conduct inspections inside the fire damaged Parliament have detected heat from certain spots on the basement of the building.

This was revealed on Wednesday by Parliament Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo, who said the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service has since been called to attend to the heat.

“The fire department will be on site shortly to attend to the heat,” said Mothapo.

“This is a precautionary safety measure to avert any potential flare up, and there was no immediate danger to either the inspectors currently on site or the general parliamentary community.”

The fire that broke out last month affected both the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly Wing of the buildings of Parliament, which house the chambers of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

ALSO READ: Don’t blame me for parliament fire, says Mapisa-Nqakula

The City of Cape Town’s preliminary report into the incident revealed how Parliament wasn’t compliant with fire safety regulations and had lax security on the days leading up to the fire.

The report found that the sprinkler control valve set on the southern façade of the Old Assembly building had not activated and that the sprinklers did not go off. It also stated that the sprinklers were last serviced last in 2017, even though a service was scheduled for February 2020.

It emerged that the fire doors were not properly closed when the fire broke out due to latches specifically fitted to prevent them from closing.

Arrest and charges

A 49-year-old man, Zandile Mafe, was arrested in connection with the fire. He is facing six charges, including one count of terrorism, two counts of arson, theft, housebreaking with intent to steal, and possession of explosive devices.

The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court last week Friday granted the state a six-week postponement to finish its investigation following a request from prosecutor Mervyn Menigo.

During the court proceedings, Menigo revealed that the state’s investigation was ongoing as some forensic reports were still outstanding.

He also told the court that some items of Mafe’s clothing were still being examined, while other items that were found in the accused’s possession needed to be identified.

“A cellphone in possession of the accused has delivered certain records, and certain leads coming from the phone have to be followed up and statements obtained,” the state prosecutor said.

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