Fire Damage at Parliament: SAPS, Chief Fire Officer & DPWI; BDO Report; with Ministers & Deputy Minister

Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament

28 January 2022
Chairperson: Ms B Mabe (ANC); Ms D Mahlangu (ANC; Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary


City of Cape Town Fire Department post-incident report

In this virtual meeting, the Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament and the Portfolio Committees on Police and on Public Works and Infrastructure received briefings from the City of Cape Town Fire Department, South African Police Service (SAPS) and DPWI (DPWI) on the circumstances surrounding the fire in the parliamentary precinct and progress on related matters.

The City of Cape Town Fire Department presented its Post-Incident Observation Report of the fire that started on the 2 January 2022 in the parliamentary precinct. The unofficial report included comments from Fire Safety Officers on the scene at the time. A number of concerns were noted including that the sprinkler valve had not been activated, the sprinkler system had not been serviced since 2017 and fire escapes had been latched in an open position. It was suggested that the formal investigation needed to determine if the detection system was operational, as observations suggested that it was faulty. No fire alarm was received by the City of Cape Town Fire Service from the old or new National Assembly buildings – an alarm was only received after the fire fighters were on scene. It was highlighted that fire safety reports, prepared in advance of the State of the Nation Address events over the previous three years, were submitted to DPWI noting a number of fire safety risks.

The Minister of Police introduced the presentation given by the South African Police Service. A number of inhibiting factors were presented which may have influenced the situation when the fire occurred. This included the Eskom power outage on the 21 December 2021 which had caused the main video wall to malfunction. This had not been repaired by the time of the fire incident. At the time of the incident, Parliamentary Protection Services (PPS) were on compulsory leave, despite the fact that the Police’s mandate was to secure the perimeter of Parliament and the PPS were responsible for internal security matters within the precinct. The security breach was outlined as well as the various processes underway. It was noted that a multidisciplinary collaboration plan was being setup with key stakeholders to enhance security specifically in the precinct of Parliament.

Members of the three Committees asked a number of questions. Clarity was requested about the ‘unofficial’ status of the Post-Incident Observation Report, presented by the City of Cape Town Fire Department. The Post-Incident Observation Report made a number of comments that were not clearly decisive, such as the sprinklers ‘seeming’ not to work. Members asked why certificates of compliance were issued before the State of the Nation Address over the previous years, when the requirements had not been met. They asked why the parliamentary precinct was not subject to the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. They asked if the failure to comply resulted in the extent of the fire? The generators running out of diesel was highlighted; it was asked why this had not been addressed soon after the power outage in December 2021. Concern was raised about the lack of protection of Parliament, given its status as a National Key Point. Clarity was requested about the roles of the Police versus the Parliamentary Protection Services and the overlap of responsibilities. Significant concern was raised about Parliamentary Protection Services being on compulsory leave at the time of the incident. The need for proper cooperation and management was emphasised. Members expressed concern about the inadequate security measures, such as the lower than required security fence and asked why this had not been addressed. Questions were asked about the suspect, how he got into the precinct and what was used to start the fire. It was emphasised that responsibility needed to be taken for the lack of sufficient infrastructure, including the video wall and sprinkler system.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure presented the Binder Dijker Otte Advisory Review Report to the Committee. The Report was completed in October 2020, and subsequently presented to the Minister in September 2021. The report highlighted a number of gaps in construction management, financial management and contractor management. An Audit Action Plan was developed to address and implement the 30 findings of the Report. The Department presented an in-depth outline of its actions per finding of the report. The presentation outlined the impact of the fire on the various offices and alternative arrangements for those Members affected.

Members of the Committees raised concern about the delays in procurement and construction and the financial and timeframe overruns. A Member highlighted that DPWI's facility management and project management were two of its core functions and yet the findings found them severely lacking in both areas. A Member requested clarity about the delay between the Department receiving the Report and the Minister receiving it. It was noted that the findings of the Report were reflected in the Auditor General findings and needed to be addressed urgently. Clarity was requested about the role of the internal audit unit and if the responsibility of preparing a report, as was presented, should not have fallen under its responsibility. An update on the consequence management processes was requested; it was emphasised that this needed to be equally applied across the Department and the leadership, being the Ministry.

The Committee finalised its programme for its oversight visit to the fire-damaged Parliamentary precinct.

Meeting report

City of Cape Town (CoCT) Fire Department briefing
Mr Ian Schnetler, Chief Fire Officer for the City of Cape Town, provided a summary of the unofficial observations report on the fire at the Parliamentary Complex.

The report included comments from Fire Safety Officers who were on the scene. It was noted that the external fire hydrants were well marked and maintained with adequate access provided. The sprinkler control valve, set on the southern façade of the Old Assembly building, had not been activated. The sprinklers did not activate and were last serviced in 2017, with service scheduled for February 2020. It was highlighted that a major contributing factor to the excessive heat and smoke encountered throughout the building was the open-latching of fire doors onto the fire escape staircases, the “rabbit warren” of locked office configurations off feeder passages, which negatively affected any ventilation occurring from inner spaces, and the emergency staircases being poorly ventilated with minimal natural vents encountered to the outside. The wall panelling and décor materials presented additional fire loading throughout the building.

No comment was provided about the potential cause of the fire, which would be subject to official investigation. The investigation would need to determine if the detection system was operational, as observations suggested that it was faulty, but was badly damaged by the fire. No fire alarm was received by the City of Cape Town Fire Service from the old or new National Assembly buildings – an alarm was only received after the fire fighters were on scene – this was concerning. It was highlighted that the SONA reports prepared in advance of SONA over the previous three years were submitted to DPWI noting a number of fire safety risks. There were also issues noted with the HVAC system, which failed to shut down and the lift safety trip did not operate (see report).

South African Police Service on role and responsibilities in protecting National Parliament
Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, introduced the presentation and handed over to the Lieutenant General to present.

Lt Gen Samson Shitlabane, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Protection and Security Services, briefed the Committees on the role and responsibilities of SAPS in protecting National Parliament, outlining the legislative and policy frameworks that informed the role of SAPS in protecting of the Parliamentary Precinct specifically.

The relationship and cooperation between Parliamentary Protection Services and SAPS was outlined. It was suggested that the mandate of the PPS needed to be fully established, however SAPS and the PPS acted independently of one another. PPS was responsible for internal security matters within the parliamentary precinct.

Inhibiting factors
The power outage, caused by Eskom, on 21 December 2021, resulted in the malfunctioning of the video wall for the entire duration prior to the Parliament fire incident. It was reported that the generators ran out of diesel. Security was only able to monitor movement from a small screen due to the video wall not working. Parliament was operating two different types of cameras, inside was digital and outside the precinct, was analogue. At the time of the incident, Parliamentary Protection Services was on compulsory leave. Parliament has three monitoring rooms, which were not integrated. The fire alarm of Parliament never went off at the City of Cape Town Fire Department. The water valves that supply water to the sprinklers, within the building, were found to be closed. The fire alarm only went off when the Fire Brigade was already on the scene extinguishing the fire.

Security Breach
On 2 January 2022, there was a security breach, within the Parliamentary Precinct. Members of the Parliamentary Protection Services noticed smoke coming from the National Assembly area. Upon investigation and questioning the suspect, an African male, Mr Zandile Christmas Mafe, was arrested for trespassing and a criminal case was opened. The suspect’s first court appearance, was on 4 January 2022. The suspect’s second court appearance was on 11 January 2022 for bail information. The case was remanded to 11 February 2022 for bail application, following a 30 day mental evaluation. On 18 January 2022, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the suspect should immediately be released from the Valkenburg Hospital and transferred to a normal Correctional Services detention facility. The criminal case is being investigated, by a multidisciplinary task team, led by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). A departmental investigation has been instituted against four SAPS members, who performed duties, from 31 December 2021, following the security breach.

Parliamentary Protection Services extensively assess compliance to the security and regulatory requirements, in the protection of the Parliamentary Precinct. The assessment would provide insight into the level of compliance by the various governance structures as relevant to administrative, procedural and regulatory requirements. SAPS has established a Multidisciplinary Collaboration Plan with key stakeholders. The purpose of the Plan is to enhance security, within the Parliamentary Precinct (see document).

Mr B Radebe (ANC) appreciated the City of Cape Town Fire Department for their work in responding timeously to the fire. He noted that the opening remarks of its Report stated that the report was not an ‘official fire report on the incident’ and asked for clarity on this. He noted that the forensic investigation still needed to be take place. During the week of the fire, there was a miscommunication amongst Parliament, DPWI and the City of Cape Town Fire Department. Did the Observation Report get sent to the relevant stakeholders, being DPWI and Parliament? The first page of the Observation Report stated that ‘the sprinkler control valve, set on the southern façade of the Old Assembly building, had not activated.’ In the report it is stated as fact, but in the presentation it was stated as if ‘it seemed’ the sprinklers did not work. He asked for clarity. Would the final determination take place through the forensic investigation? He noted that DPWI had appointed a ten-member technical team which would undertake the investigation.

He noted the SAPS presentation highlighted the constitutional mandate of the Police, one of which was to ‘prevent, combat and investigate crime.’ The Police were also responsible for protecting and securing the inhabitants of the country and their property, as presented. It seemed as if this had not happened, the property was not secured and the incident was not prevented. That was the reason crime detection existed - to prevent crime from happening. It seemed as if SAPS’s mandate had been ‘violated.’ The entire precinct had been declared a National Key Point. It was the Police’s mandate to protect it. There could not be a situation where the Police pointed fingers at the Parliamentary Protection Services. The required coordinating planning committee had not been established. On security, the National Key Points Act stated that at the cost of the owner, the National Key Point must provide security. The security measures needed to satisfy the Minister of Police. Was the Minister satisfied with the reports that were given to him?

Ms S Gwarube (DA) noted the Fire Chief stated that the alarms and sprinklers were seemingly not working or not activated. From the Fire Department’s assessment who would be responsible for the fire prevention measures? These measures were critical to prevent the devastation that was seen at Parliament. Were these prevention measures activated and functioning well? Were the fire doors, sprinklers and alarms working? Would there have been a better handle on the fire if the fire doors, sprinklers and alarms had been functional.

Ms Gwarube asked where the role of SAPS began and where it intersected with DPWI and the Parliamentary Protection Services. While there was a lot of information on the legal mandate and principles in guiding the functions of SAPS, it was still unclear when it came to the protection of a National Key Point. Where did the responsibilities of SAPS, DPWI and PPS begin and end? There were inadequate security measures, such as the fence that was 1.3 metres high and not the required 3 metres. Who was responsible for those security measures? For the past three weeks it had not been clear who was responsible for what role. The cameras SAPS had access to monitor were not as clear as the ones that PPS had. Why were SAPS cameras or video footage unclear? What was the agreement between SAPS and the PPS in monitoring the precinct, given that many members of the PPS were on leave at the time. If the Committees were to hold anyone accountable, there needed to be an understanding of who was responsible for what and who dropped the ball.

Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) said the Fire Chief had stated that ‘it seemed as if the sprinklers were not functioning.’ He asked that the Fire Chief be very clear on the matter. There could not be a situation where it ‘seemed as if…'. The Fire Chief needed to report the findings if the sprinklers were or were not working. There needed to be a clear statement so the Committees understood the situation.

Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked the Fire Department if written observations were always issued. He had not seen any other written reports on the Fire Department’s website. Before the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Fire Department was part of the team that conducted assessments in Parliament in preparation for SONA to check the fire equipment. The Fire Department issued certificates of compliance. The Report stated that equipment was last serviced in 2017 but had been due for a service in 2020 which was not done. Was the Fire Department not responsible for checking the fire equipment in 2020 and 2021 and issuing certificates of compliance? Why were certificates of compliance issued if the equipment had not been serviced?

Mr Rayi noted a number of gaps in the SAPS Report when it came to the coordination between the three stakeholders (SAPS, Parliament and DPWI). The Report contained recommendations following the visit that took place to Hungary on security best practice. He proposed that the Speaker convene a meeting with the Police and Public Works Ministers so that the gaps could be addressed. Proper coordination and implementation had needed attention since 2016 – this needed to be addressed. The three Committees should convene again to receive an update on how the executives addressed the gaps in the proper coordination of services.

Ms A Siwisa (EFF) requested clarity about the ‘Observation’ Report and if it would be followed by a final report with the same findings at a later stage. The wording used in the Report suggested that a number of things were not working – this was a concern.

The SAPS presentation highlighted an internal investigation would take place. It was confirmed that the fire alarm never went off and that the water valves were closed that supplied water to the sprinklers in the building. What consequence management would take place after the internal investigation was finalised? She noted that four SAPS members were under investigation, she asked if those members had been suspended and if not, why not. Suspension was necessary when an investigation was underway to prevent ‘tampering with the evidence.’ The fire alarm only went off once the Fire Department was in the precinct. This meant that the official responsible for ensuring that everything was working, needed to be held accountable. There needed to be an investigation into that.

Ms S Graham (DA) said the Fire Chief observation report pointed out that because it was State property, the parliamentary precinct was not subject to the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. The Public Works Portfolio Committee had received a DPWI presentation that it complied with the Fire Department requirements in preparing for SONA. The indication then was that the Fire Department would have signed off on fire safety protocols for SONA. If there was no need to comply with the Fire Safety By-Laws, a certificate of compliance could not be issued, because there was no Act that governed such compliance. Any inspection done by the City of Cape Town would have been a cursory inspection with some advice to Parliament; Parliament would have then tried to implement the recommendations. Was there a certificate of compliance issued by the Fire Department? If not, was the Fire Department called back in to check compliance with their recommendations? If not, was the Fire Chief of the opinion that the failure to comply resulted in the extent of the fire? It was known that the fire alarm went off at Tuynhuys and not in either of the two buildings in which the fire was burning, the sprinkler valves were closed, and the fire doors were open. This indicated non-compliance. She requested clarity on the compliance.

SAPS emphasised that Parliament was a National Key Point. In November 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed off on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, the Act was supposed to repeal the National Key Points Act, which was an Apartheid era Act. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act created new mechanisms for the protection of what were commonly referred to as ‘National Key Points,’ but would be known as ‘critical infrastructure’ under the new law. The implementation of the Act would involve the establishment of a Critical Infrastructure Council, which would deal with a lot of the issues around this. In addition, the purpose of the Act spoke to cooperation and a culture of shared responsibility between role-players to ensure public private cooperation in the identification and protection of critical infrastructure. Had the Act been in place, it was likely that there would have been greater adherence to the requirements of SAPS in the protection of the parliamentary precinct. Was the Minister satisfied with the level of security in the Precinct and that the recommendations made in 2018 were not implemented? She agreed with Mr Radebe, SAPS was the custodian of the National Key Points Act and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act. The regulations for that Act were still being written by SAPS. When would the Act be fully implemented to ensure proper security protocols and the protection of critical infrastructure?

Mr O Terblanche (DA) asked when the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act would be gazetted, as there were serious things that needed to be done. The Police had a number of meetings on the matter since 2013 – the last meeting took place in 2018. Had the recommendations in all the reports been implemented yet? It seemed as if this was a serious case of ‘negligence.’ Something needed to be done to ensure the recommendations did not just sit, but were implemented and managed.

Mr N Singh (IFP) stated that there was a fine line between what was being done amongst the Committees in the meeting and what would emerge from official reports. A criminal investigation was being conducted and more information would be given during the course of that investigation. Portfolio committees in Parliament had a separate responsibility in assessing all the issues that were brought forward. Members had highlighted a number of important points, however there was likely not enough time to answer all the questions in the meeting. He suggested that the Committees consider asking that the Speaker report back to them.

He suggested that there was sufficient capacity amongst the Committees' research and legal services to draw up a comprehensive report to use in trying to get answers on the issue. There were contradictory reports coming from different parties. The Committees were previously told that, after the 21 December 2021 electricity blackout, the cameras had worked. It was now stated that only a small screen worked. At the earliest opportunity the Committees should consider the need for a face-to-face meeting to ‘look one another in the eye’ to get the answers, once the report was received.

He asked the City of Cape Town Fire Department if it was normal for a fire to move from one area to another. He suggested that this was perhaps a matter for the Police Report. Why was the South African public told that the ‘fire was under control,’ only to find the next morning that the fire had erupted again?

There was a lot of work that needed to be done by PPS. Parliament needed to answer the Committees about the job description of PPS – what was the linkage between PPS and SAPS. This issue needed to be resolved, particularly as there were contradictory reports. A lot of people could be found negligent in all of this. The Committees needed to act independently to get to the bottom of the matter. If the research and legal support teams could not prepare a report, as suggested, it might be useful to get outside assistance on that.

Mr X Qayiso (ANC) stated that it was difficult to accept the Fire Department’s submission as a report as it was labelled ‘observations.’ He did not know how one would come to a conclusion from those ‘notes.’ He suggested that the Committees should reject the ‘Report.’ The ‘Report’ did not seem to be of any assistance at this point – he suggested it might be more useful once the forensic report was finalised. He did not know why something that had been reported at a ‘public-level’ was being brought to the meeting – it was ‘copy and paste type information.’ However, he appreciated the good work the Fire Department did with the fire at Parliament.

He agreed with Mr Radebe that there was an urgent need to focus on, and urgently improve, coordination. In instances of pandemics or disasters – there needed to be careful thought applied to security. This was suggested in light of the leave given to Parliamentary Protection Services, which he suggested was partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. There was some restriction of movement applied under the Labour Relations Act, due to Parliament being a place of work. One of the shortcomings that emerged was capacity – he suggested there needed to be improved capacity and training going forward to close the gap.

Dr P Groenewald (FF+) addressed the Minister of Police. On slide 15 it said that the Eskom power outage on 21 December 2021 caused the malfunctioning of the video wall for the entire duration prior to the fire incident. It was reported that the generators ran out of diesel. Slide 17 said a departmental investigation had been instituted against four SAPS members who performed duties from 31 December 2021, which included the Commander and two members of the monitoring room. What about those SAPS members on duty from 21 December 2021? The members who started on 31 December 2021 found the wall already dysfunctional – one needed to go to the cause of the problem. If it was simply that the generators had run out of diesel – how was it that no attention was given to this on 22 December 2021?

It was reported that the suspect had liquid explosives with him. This was very important. If one had explosives with one, then the motive was quite important. Was it true that the suspect had liquid explosives with him? Were the liquid explosives activated? Liquid explosives were usually used in mines and were commercial, it was an emulsion that could only become active once it had been gassed. It was not easy to ‘gas’ the emulsion. Without that it was useless. Even if it was gassed, one still needed a detonator. Were all those elements present? He asked for clarity on this.

Ms M Hicklin (DA) noted the Fire Department’s Report stated that the sprinklers were last serviced in 2017 and that a service was scheduled for February 2020. It was not indicated if that service took place. The SONA Reports for 2020 and 2021 were signed off – one would then assume that sprinklers had been serviced. She asked to be corrected if she was wrong on this. Were the sprinklers in fact serviced? The Report stated that it was unclear what portions of the building were fitted out with sprinklers – had this been determined yet? She directed the following question to the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure; why was the whole of the parliamentary precinct not fitted out with sprinklers, being a National Key Point? Surely, the whole building was important and sprinklers needed to be in the entire building not just parts of the building. There seemed to be an overlap in responsibilities between DPWI, Parliamentary Protection Services and SAPS. Who was actually responsible for the implementation of physical security recommendations in the parliamentary precinct? Who was responsible for security and the prevention of unauthorised persons accessing the precinct, specifically during the recess? How could there be a situation where a person was left to wonder around the precinct for upward of 30 hours? How could security be sleeping or have headphones on for that period of time, as Members were being made to believe? She asked if any accelerants were used in the fire?

Ms O Maotwe (EFF) noted that the SAPS presentation had said that the mandate of the PPS needed to still be addressed. Since when was this? What had been done about that? Who had SAPS been engaging in Parliament on the matter, as suggested in the presentation? What was the progress to date? The Report said that there were five security assessments since 2004, which were submitted to Parliament and DPWI for implementation. What did the latest assessment state – what had been done to implement the latest security assessment? Perhaps, if these recommendations had been implemented, the incident would not have taken place. It was concerning that it was stated that the video wall had been malfunctioning from the 21 December 2021 – why was it not dealt with? The Committees were told that SAPS had initiated an implementation plan that would enhance security and coordination. This was good; how far were the discussions? How far was the plan from implementation?

Ms S van Schalkwyk (ANC) said that SAPS noted that the precinct had been declared a National Key Point since 2018 – what had the different departments done to address the 'inhibiting factors.’ What was the timeline to address these? She asked that DPWI and SAPS respond specifically.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) said that before it was determined who dropped the ball – a lot of other things needed to be done. It was clear there was a need to improve the structural coordination and implementation. The compulsory leave issue left a bitter taste, specifically as it was a National Key Point. The findings were concerning, particularly the lack of implementation of the recommendations. She asked the Fire Department what informed their issuing of the 2020 and 2021 certificates, if a number of requirements were not met.

She asked SAPS what informed the suspension of persons, if the lack of video footage did not allow them to see all the corners of the precinct. She emphasised the need to up-skill all affected stakeholders to protect the National Key Point. The tools of trade (ToT) needed to be improved to reach the required standard.

Mr H Shembeni (EFF) suggested that the facts needed to be told. There was a suspect inside the premises, where there were a lot of discrepancies - sprinklers not working, alarms not working and fire escape doors left open. A person found – where was this person found and with what? What made him a suspect and how was the suspect apprehended? Whose responsibility did the generators fall under when they ran out of diesel. When was the last time diesel was supplied for the generators? Surely, there was a register of the diesel supply, when it was refilled and by whom. The Commissioner of Police knew about the upgrades of Parliament, which were not implemented until he became the Commissioner. What information could he provide about the upgrades? What specific upgrades took place after the Hungary trip? Whose responsibility was it to deal with the malfunctioning of the sprinklers and doors? Why were the poor SAPS constables or sergeants being suspended, when the infrastructure was not working? It was not those SAPS members' responsibility to service the infrastructure, such as the video wall and sprinkler system. He asked if the suspect entered through the main gate. Where had he got the explosive liquids? He understood that the family had not been in contact with the suspect in some time. The screening that took place at the main entrance was a SAPS responsibility. He asked when the fire was first noticed and how long it took the Fire Department to arrive.

City of Cape Town Fire Department response
Chief Fire Officer Schnetler replied that the Report was an observation report by the officers at the scene, at the time. It was provided to the Mayor, who then forwarded it to Parliament to highlight some concerns at the scene. It was not an official report, it was an observation to alert Members to some shortcomings. The sprinklers did not activate – that was the observation of the staff at the scene. The building owner was responsible for fire safety compliance, any notices in terms of SONA, would have been communicated to the Regional Manager of Public Works. The alarm system would have provided an early warning system, had it been operational. There could have been an earlier response if the fire was detected earlier. The sprinkler system was a suppression system to address a fire until the arrival of the Fire Department. In certain instances, it could put the fire out completely, in other instances it depended upon the severity of the fire. The occupancy and National Building Regulations would have influenced where sprinklers were placed – it required buildings of an older age to be exempted – unless there was new building work that had taken place. The SONA reports were a courtesy of the Fire and Rescue Service to advise Parliament and DPWI about their observations in terms of inspections.

The sprinklers were tagged with a metal tag that indicated that the sprinklers were serviced in 2017 and the next service would have been required in 2021 – those tags were seen on the sprinkler system and sprinkler control valves. There were no 2021 tags – which suggested that the sprinklers were not serviced in 2021. If the sprinklers were serviced and the sprinkler servicing company omitted to put the new tags on, that would only be established by the records of the servicing company or DPWI, who might have the report.

A Fire Officer was required to attend the scene because it was a National Key Point and important building, to anticipate any questions that may have come up. It was the norm that the Fire Department did a standard incident report for every single incident that the Fire Department went to. There was a complete record of any incident attended to. The courtesy report, produced before SONA in 2020, noted that the old Assembly was under construction at the time - it would have likely been omitted from the survey of sprinkler systems. There was a National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act which regulated building, construction and fire compliance. The Act stated that it did not bind the State, which impacted the application and enforcement of fire regulations and by-laws - it exempted the State from adhering to them.

The forensic report would establish if the two fires were linked or not. It had been indicated that the fire was contained on the Monday morning. Due to the circumstances of the fire and the confined spaces in the building, as well as the hidden areas of the building, in the late afternoon between 16h00 and 17h00, the south easterly wind came up which caused further spread of the fire. The upper floors of the Assembly contained a considerable amount of heat. Fire crews were at the point of fire at the time and were unable to prevent the spread. The fire ventilated and went through the roof, it was contained that same evening around 21h00. He could not answer the questions about the accelerants, which would be left to the forensic experts.

Minister of Police and SAPS response
Minister Bheki Cele stated that Dr Groenewald had a legal background, while Mr Shembeni was a law enforcer – both Members were aware that the questions they asked required evidence. There was a case in court and most of their questions were of a court narrative rather than the subject of the meeting. He appreciated the suggestion about the Speaker. The Council members had been appointed but had not started, as the Secretariat was finalising the regulations that the President would need to assent to.

Lt Gen Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner of Policing, stated that SAPS was responsible for guarding the outer perimeter of Parliament, along its fence. SAPS was not responsible for monitoring inside the building. The employees on duty had been given a notice of suspension – those employees were busy with their representations. It was true that the video wall was malfunctioning and the Police were using a small monitor to look at what was happening outside. SAPS was not responsible for the repair of the video wall. The need to repair the video wall had been reported to the relevant authorities. SAPS was only responsible for the assessment and reports. The implementation was done by the National Key Point owner, which in this case was Parliament jointly with the Department of Public Works. The matter of the liquid explosives was still under investigation.

Lt Gen Samson Shitlabane noted that the only outstanding matter, was the intervention plan. As a National Key Point, there should have been a Joint Planning Committee, the committee would deal with upgrades and all security related matters. The intervention plan would have been the responsibility of the Joint Planning Committee, but since that structure was not established it was not done. There was a difference between the two Acts. If there was no compliance, the Minister of Police would have the power to declassify it or there would be a fine on a National Key Point that did not comply. He appreciated the proposal that the Speaker and two Ministers should resolve these issues of responsibilities associated with being a National Key Point.

Follow-up questions
Mr Radebe stated a question had not been answered. The parliamentary precinct was declared a National Key Point in 2018; the Joint Planning Committee was supposed to have been established after that. Who did not do their job? Someone needed to be held responsible for that. Someone should have created that committee. The Minister needed to receive that report and be satisfied – did the Minister get that report? What was done to ensure compliance?

Ms Maotwe said her questions had not been answered and suggested that the Committee Secretary follow-up with the Department on that. If the presentation stated that on 21 December 2021 the video wall was not functioning, the Department should have been prepared to respond to questions about that. The SAPS Report stated that the Parliamentary Protection Services was on compulsory leave. If PPS were on compulsory leave, were all of them on leave? Who authorised all their compulsory leave?

Ms Gwarube asked about the deployment of PPS staff. In the event, that the Speaker or Acting Secretary to Parliament gave an indication that at times during holiday periods, certain members of staff worked and certain members did not. What was the arrangement made between PPS and SAPS, considering that there were clearly stations that were not manned?

National Assembly Speaker response
Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula noted that the SAPS presentation had been most ‘useful and informative’. She highlighted that SAPS and the Fire Department were not expected to provide a level of detail that would compromise the investigation. She noted the requests for clarity about the Parliamentary Protection Services staff being on leave during the holiday period. During the festive season on certain dates, members of the PPS were released, she asked that the Acting Secretary to Parliament speak to that.

She stated that an independent investigation would be carried out. The investigation would not overreach into the issues being investigated by the Police. The independent investigation would assist all parties. She had requested that the Legal Division of Parliament advise the executive authority how best to do that. Once that advice was received it would be acted upon. The independent investigation would run parallel but not deal with issues of criminality.

It seemed as if every SONA, the City of Cape Town Fire Department conducted an investigation and risk assessment in Parliament. Those reports had been looked at. The investigation would determine if the risks identified by the Fire Department were acted upon by Parliament.

Acting Secretary to Parliament response
Acting Secretary to Parliament, Ms Baby Tyawa, responded to the compulsory leave questions. On 14 January 2022, it was presented that PPS did not have staff from 16 December 2021 to the first week of January 2022. There was rotation for those who could come to the precinct on a needs basis. During that time COVID-19 regulations were being adhered to due to the number of increasing infections. In that space, there was ‘no Parliamentary Protection Staff in the precinct.’ Those matters were submitted to the Committees. Since COVID-19, there had been no Parliamentary Protection Staff working on the weekends and unfortunately the incident happened during that time.

The declaration of Parliament as a National Key Point took place on 12 January 2018. On 16 October 2018, it was communicated to SAPS that Parliament would like them to come and induct the presiding officers and staff. On the 15 January 2019, Parliament wrote again to SAPS that a Joint Planning Committee was established and asked for an induction workshop. A workshop was held on the 11 December 2019. In that workshop it was agreed that a legal workshop would be scheduled for 2020 before SONA. This workshop would help them understand the prescripts and implications of being a National Key Point. This proved that from the time Parliament was declared a National Key Point, Parliament had been asking for an induction. On the 20 April 2021, Parliament requested another induction on the declaration of Parliament as a National Key Point.

She had never received a report from the City of Cape Town Fire Department that spoke to the deficiencies prior to the SONAs. She noted that the Fire Chief had stated that the report went to Public Works, when it should have been sent to both parties. She noted the need for greater capacity and training; SAPS had volunteered to assist Parliament Protection Services with that.

DPWI response
Acting Director General, Mr Imtiaz Fazel, stated that DPWI provided infrastructure to SAPS for their security function at Parliament. SAPS conducted its risk assessment, and DPWI was required to respond by providing the necessary infrastructure to mitigate those risks. On the 1.3 metre high fence, as opposed to the 3 metre requirement, there was a project in process that had been endorsed by Parliament and SAPS. Negotiations had taken place between the parties and the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA). SAHRA placed a strong emphasis on heritage requirements. SAHRA had requested a fence of no higher than 1.5m to maintain the aesthetics of the building and perimeter fence. An understanding was reached that for security purposes, the fence should be raised to 2.7 metres. The project would move forward in that way. The vehicle search park was removed from the scope of the project after discussions with SAPS, Parliament and DPWI. If there was a need for the inclusion of the search park – this request would be taken into account.

On the shortage of diesel, after 21 December 2021, the diesel facilities were topped up so that they were back to normal levels. Some were done on an automated basis from the bulk storage tanks, others were done manually. Those had been refilled; about 15 000 litres plus diesel resided in those tanks. That was the current status.

The video wall would not affect the functionality of the cameras nor monitors, the monitors would still be able to relay information from all the cameras in the precinct. There was a project to replace all the analog cameras. The transformation from analog to digital was very common – this transition was already taking place. The perimeter cameras were projected on 32 inch monitors in the monitoring rooms, and the video wall simply mirrored that. There was in no way a compromise in the functionality or ability to observe. There were three functioning monitoring rooms in the precinct. As part of the current DPWI project, there would be an upgrade of the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems, CCTV surveillance systems and metal detectors. These rooms would be centralised.

The fire alarms automatically connected with the Fire Department if the personnel in the precinct did not reset it. He could not explain why it would not have gone off, as was alleged. Ultimately, the investigation would establish any cause or effect on the issue. The water valves supplied water to the sprinkler system – the Fire Department found them closed. The available records that DPWI had, was that the valves were in an open position after maintenance work and testing was completed in October 2021. In this case an investigation would also be relied upon to establish how an open valve was found closed.

Given that Parliament was a National Key Point and that SAPS conducted various security assessments, there were multiple projects over the years that had been undertaken and completed to improve security in the precinct – specifically the cameras. Over 70 cameras had been installed in the Old Assembly and New Assembly, amongst others. There were also improved video walls at Tuynhuys and 100 Plein Street. The metal detectors had been fixed, fibre optic networks had been installed for digital cameras and extra solar capacity. Turnstiles were put in at the request of SAPS to manage crowd control, as well as increased lighting across the precinct.

More recently, there had been three large-scale security projects underway in the precinct. SAPS, Parliament and DPWI were working jointly on the projects to respond to SAPS security requirements. The first project was an upgrade to security at all entrances to the parliamentary precinct, the installation of additional perimeter fencing and the creation of a temporary vehicle search park. The second was a heritage project to upgrade all UPS systems, all CCTV surveillance systems, including x-ray machines and metal detectors. Lastly there was a heritage project to maintain electronic security systems within various buildings.

He was aware of the request from the Hawks, received on 14 January 2022, to avoid commenting on their active investigation. He had not done so – DPWI respected the independent investigation which would determine an outcome for all the areas of uncertainty.

Ms Maotwe asked what the Committees should do with the Report that was now being disputed. Mr Fazel had basically disputed everything that had been said before him. The Report said the valves were closed, Mr Fazel said the valves were open. What should the Committee do?

The Chairperson replied that she would provide a way forward at the end of the meeting. Oversight could not end after only two or three meetings. The Speaker had said that she would also institute an independent investigation. The Committees would receive an independent report that would be tabled formally and the Committees would then be able to make recommendations. Once that report was tabled before them, recommendations could be made to the improve systems as well as to find out who was responsible or accountable. It was premature to come to a conclusion. This matter would be a standing agenda item for the Committees. She asked that photographs be shared with the Committees if it did not compromise the investigations, so that Members had an idea of the extent of the damage and how the structure had been affected.

Ms Gwarube agreed that the oversight function of the Committees should continue. She was concerned that there were constantly competing reports. She agreed that the independent investigation would shed some light. It would be important, before the report was tabled before the Committees, that some of the parliamentary mechanisms such as a parliamentary inquiry be considered. The Committees had a number of matters and responsibilities to deal with. It would be a far more powerful message to send out – not only publicly – but in the interest of accountability to state that a parliamentary inquiry would look into the matter. A parliamentary inquiry would have powers – where evidence and persons could be summoned to give input. That was something that the Committee could consider. It was a mechanism that was available to them.

The Chairperson highlighted that it was only the Speaker who had the power to institute that kind of inquiry. Once the Speaker instituted that type of committee, it would mean that the entire process would go to that committee. If Members felt that such a request should be made to the Speaker, it could be considered. She suggested that the Speaker apply her mind and maybe at a later stage respond to such a request.

Mr Qayiso suggested that an independent forensic investigation was sufficient. There were a series of processes already taking place on the ground – he was reluctant to complicate the situation and have multiple parallel structures dealing with the matter. He suggested allowing these processes to unfold and be exhausted.

Mr Rayi agreed with Mr Qayiso. The process should not be complicated, when the report was not even before them yet. There would be a report from Hawks. There would be an independent investigation report that the Speaker had indicated. Further processes could only be decided on once the reports on the current investigations were finalised. This item would be a standing agenda item in future meetings. There was no need to pre-empt the outcomes and start preparing for the processes following it.

Mr Radebe agreed there was no need to create another investigation structure. Each Committee needed to perform its oversight function. The way this disaster was dealt with was far better than the previous year, with the unrest in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and Gauteng. The public was regularly being informed, not only through the executive authority of Public Works and Parliament, but through the Portfolio Committees – which was verifying what was being put out to the public.

The Speaker agreed. The investigation would not be conducted by a multi-party entity. There would be an independent investigation; this matter had been discussed with the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure. Once the report came out, it became the report of Parliament. The Committees would have the responsibility to discuss, analyse and tease out issues that came out of the report. She was aware that the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure was hard at work with her teams, to ensure that the engineers from Public Works – once it was agreed upon – would go in and do an assessment of the damage. There was currently footage from a drone that was deployed by DPWI. That footage was submitted to the Committees. There were challenges in getting into parts of the building due to water and electricity issues. The Committees would be informed when the investigations started. Once the report came out, the Committees would be briefed on the findings.

Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) briefing
Acting Director General, Mr Imtiaz Fazel, and Chief Director of Prestige Policy in DPWI, Mr Mzwandile Sazona, presented to the Committee. The Binder Dijker Otte (BDO) Advisory Review Report was completed in October 2020, having been commissioned by the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure after receiving a letter of complaint from the Speaker about the lifts that were taking time to be completed. The Minister received the report on 17 September 2021. The report contains 30 findings in areas of construction project management, financial management and contractor management, among others.

A timeline of actions was developed. The findings that could be addressed immediately were resolved, this included the Sixth floor, 120 Plein Street fire door repair and out of date service of the fire extinguishers. The BDO Advisory Report brought a number of key issues to the fore, that related to organisational performance, outdated and inadequate systems, lack of internal planning capacity, inadequate work specifications, an over-reliance on consultants and inadequate oversight of contractors. An Audit Action Plan was developed by the Department to address and implement the findings of the BDO Advisory Report. The presentation went into great detail on the proposed actions and actions to date per finding.

395 offices were affected by the fire; 211 offices of Members of Parliament (MPs), which included five Presiding Officers, 193 National Assembly Members, 13 National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Members and 184 offices of Party Support Staff. Following from the Department’s Preliminary Visual Assessment of the fire-affected buildings, the National Assembly was declared unsafe and access was restricted. A Scope of Works for further technical, especially structural engineering assessment and tests, was generated from the Preliminary Assessment. This scope of works yielded proposals from independent bidders. The Bid Evaluation Committee evaluated the proposals and identified a recommended bidder. The Chair of the National Bid Adjudication Committee (NBAC) responded on 25 January with a list of queries on the expedited process and these enquiries are being responded to. Once the independent contractor is appointed, the contractor is allocated one week to complete their initial Phase 1 assessment - Determination of the structural integrity of the buildings. Once the investigating authorities confirm that the contractor team may have access to the investigation site, the contractor will be allocated three weeks to complete the detailed assessment [see Review of Parliamentary Construction Projects Performance Internal Audit Report (BDO Report) & Workstreams addressing Parliamentary Precinct fire document].

The Chairperson stated that it seemed as if the Report prepared by DPWI had been prepared over a period of time. Where did it leave Parliament, would other refurbishments and work be done at the same time? Would the Report be reviewed at a later stage?

Mr Singh suggested that based on the other reports received, there could be sections of Parliament that might be available for occupation sooner than others. The DG had said that a contractor would be appointed to do the assessment; he asked if the work would be phased. Would the National Assembly section be dealt with separately from the other parts? Was there an indication when SAPS would officially release the precinct to DPWI, so that this work could be carried out? With the previous fire that took place, there was a huge time delay before the Department could start work – a good six months. From where had the funds been secured for this work? There had been discussions about Parliament undertaking work of a ‘remedial’ nature. The criticism was that there were a lot of delays waiting for DPWI such as going out to tender. Had there been discussions between Parliament and DPWI about which body could be responsible for what work?

Ms Graham stated that DPWI’s facility management and project management were two of its core functions and yet the findings found them severely lacking in both . Mr Sazona indicated that it discovered there was a gap in appointing facility managers for the two projects. That was an indication of poor project planning. DPWI should have already provided for the end of the facility managers’ contracts and advertised the posts before the contracts ended. In 2020, according to the Report, Parliament was advised that the DPWI should not do facility management in-house because DPWI did not have the capacity to handle facility management. Surely, MultiQS who was consulted for a number of years, was in a position to adequately advise DPWI on what kind of facility management requirements there were. Facility management spoke to fire safety – it needed to be ensured that the correct protocol was in place and maintenance was done. DPWI had failed in appointing a facility management company to do this.

She did not understand the point of consultants. Consultants were appointed for nine years, for a project that should have taken 12 months and ended up taking 27.6 months and went over cost on Tuynhuys. What was the point of a consultant who was unable to sufficiently manage the project on behalf of the Department, the same applied to almost every other project in the Report. Some of the time delays on the projects were said to be due to accessing the precinct; this spoke to the need for a joint planning committee to manage the precinct. This would ensure that the security issues were not impacting on construction, which were creating time extensions that were costing the Department money. There needed to be a way of communicating effectively throughout the precinct with all the role-players, so that there were no cost and time overruns.

The other issue was communication – specifically where projects were not properly handed over. She expressed concern about how the maintenance, repair and refurbishment were being handled. There would be a leak in the roof, the ceiling would be fixed but the roof would not be fixed because it fell under a different contract. DPWI was failing at its core function of construction management. DPWI had the Report since 2020, the final requests and action plans were only being done in March 2022. It had taken 16 months to deal with critical issues.

Ms Hicklin highlighted that the presentation had not been received by the Committees but only the BDO Report. Nothing in the BDO Report came as a surprise to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure. The Committee had been highlighting the weaknesses of facility management, and the lack of cohesion and leadership within the Department, since coming to Parliament in 2019. Many of the issues were critical. Mr Sazona said that the contractors got the Report in May 2021. Minister de Lille claimed she only got the BDO Report in September 2021. How could the contractors get the report before the Minister? The Department officials got the Report in November 2020 – that was when the BDO Report was handed to the Department.

She outlined what a critical finding was as stated in the BDO Report. The results of a critical finding will, should the risk materialise, have a critical impact on the organisation’s financial position, reputation and ability to continue operations, and ‘immediate action at executive management level should be taken.’ Consequence management needed to be applied equally across the entire Department – she suggested that this needed to include the Minister and Deputy Minister. It meant the executive management needed to be held equally responsible. It could not be put on the shoulders of the DG and DDG. Consequence management needed to be taken at executive management level. It was not a personal issue – it did not matter who the minister was – it needed to be taken at ministerial level as the leader of the Department.

Ms Lesoma asked what appetite DPWI had in responding to the Auditor General’s findings. What capacity did the Department have – particularly if everything was being outsourced and the number of projects kept growing? She suggested that the Department and Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure needed to look closely at that. Business continuity or organisational reconfiguration of DPWI was that not an open-ended project that never reached a conclusion. She was sure the forensic audit report would pick up on that.

Mr Radebe stated that the BDO Report came at the right time. The Report related to the fire matter in so far as the roll-out of projects. Slide 13 identified key issues. It was good that the Department appointed BDO. The items identified went straight to the problematic issues within Parliament. The organisational concerns had been experienced with past projects. The recommendations would go a long way in ensuring there was a better environment to work in. There was a total of 400 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the National Assembly, there were 52 MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Would it be able to accommodate 452 people? The lockdown might be revised at any time – there needed to be a space where MPs could work. When would the Committee receive a report that enough offices had been secured for MPs and support staff? Who was working on the workstreams? Was Parliament represented there? The Department could not do that job on its own.

Mr Rayi appreciated the progress on the 30 findings in the BDO Report. What was the role of the internal audit unit? The BDO Report would not exist if the internal audit unit was doing its job. The introduction to the Report stated that the internal audit unit was required to provide assurance to Management and the Audit Committee, that all immovable infrastructure, capital and maintenance projects in the parliamentary precinct were implemented according to the required regulations and monitored accordingly. The internal audit unit needed to make recommendations where improvements were required for DPWI to achieve its objectives and reduce risks to an acceptable level. The internal audit unit should have played that role, so there would have been no need to commission the company responsible for the BDO Report.

He asked for an update about what had been done about consequence management. He agreed about timeframes, as highlighted by other Members. The BDO Report was ready in 2020. Some areas did not have timeframes for action – he requested that timeframes be indicated. An update needed to be given to date. Had any disciplinary action or consequence management occurred?

Ms Siwisa stated that there was a tendency not to receive documents on time from DPWI. This made it difficult for the Committees to conduct proper oversight and hold the Department accountable. In the previous meeting she had said that DPWI lacked leadership. The Department was degenerating. There was no accountability. Failure in the delivery of work lead to fruitless and wasteful expenditure. She highlighted the contracts that had run over years. Leadership did not mean one must ‘wait in an air-conitioned office for reports’ without getting ones hands dirty and ensuring everything was done as it was supposed to. If there had not been a fire in Parliament, would the Committees have even received the BDO Report? If there was consequence management, it needed to be applied right from the top down to the lowest officials.

Minister's response
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Ms Patricia de Lille, stated that she had confirmed with the Secretary of the Joint Standing Committee that a copy of the BDO Report was sent to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure. She would follow-up on that.

The Minister stated that a lot of concerns were raised, many of which she agreed with. Reports were given regularly to the Public Works Portfolio Committee. One of the reports that was brought to the attention of the Portfolio Committee was the long period of time it took to fill vacancies. DPWI's Facilities Management had been without a DDG for some time. The process was presently underway and the interviews had taken place. DPWI Human Resources had to submit that application to the Department of Public Service and Administration. There had been massive delays with that. A week before, she had checked with the Acting DG, how many of the HR appointments were outstanding. Once she had the full information, she would report back to the Committees.

The BDO Report and the timelines of the BDO Report were in the submission. The Acting DG was investigating the delays in the appointment of consultants and contractors. Part of the delay, was that before work was done on a National Key Point and heritage site, the Department was obliged by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) Act to appoint consultants with heritage experience. SAHRA had always been helpful to the Department. However, there were significant delays in appointing consultants; the scope of works still needed to be done. There would then be a tender process, the shortest period of which was 56 working days. The Acting DG had come up with a ten point plan that had begun being implemented since the beginning of 2020. There were some green shoots starting to be seen. There was still a lot of room for improvement.

DPWI's Governance, Risk and Compliance branch needed to be ensure that the proper risk register was obtained of all the DPWI branches. A lot of the concerns raised by Members were on the agenda for the monthly meeting that would take place the following week in Pretoria, with top management. She would report back to the Members on that. There was a general lack of skills in project management in government. The Acting DG had been asked to do an audit of the qualifications of all project managers within the Department. There was awareness of the shortcomings and the Department was in the process of addressing them.

She had continually come to the Committees for advice and direction as well as to update them. She did not want to go back and blame anyone who was there before she and the Deputy Minister took office – it was one government, Constitution and country. Part of building an ethical state was the recognition of shortcomings. The Deputy Minister was busy implementing change management within the Department. The following week, when in Pretoria, the Deputy Minister would do a walk about to inspect some of the recommendations that had been implemented. The Ministry and Department wanted to be held accountable to the Portfolio Committee and listen to its recommendations. She would come before the Committees again to provide progress updates.

The BDO Report was given to the Speaker in September 2021. Recently when this was discussed with the Speaker, she had asked for a full briefing on the Report before she processed it. The date for this briefing was still being arranged. The report would then officially be published in Parliament's Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC) and the Committees could further interrogate the Report.

DG Imtiaz Fazel responded to the question by Mr Singh. The expert team the Department was using would look into the areas affected by the fire. The Department’s own engineers conducted a visual assessment of the damaged areas. Based on the outcome of the visual assessment, it was concluded that it was not safe to enter the building. The experts would conduct further work in the same areas based on a forensic examination to make a determination on the safety and if Police could enter; if so it would be decided which parts of the building could be entered and under what circumstances. The Acting Secretary of Parliament, together with National Treasury, had meetings on the issue of finance to look at possible funding requirements, pending the outcome of the assessment to be conducted by the engineers. So far further costs were absorbed in their budget and no significant costs were felt.

The findings of the BDO Report were accepted as being symptomatic of deeper chronic weaknesses in the Department, of chronic overruns and poor quality which had budgetary implications. This Report was initiated by the Minister and Speaker in recognition of the challenges to acquire an independent view. DPWI had implemented the Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS), which responded to control weaknesses and the symptoms contained in the BDO Report. The IDMS had been in the pipeline for a number of years, it had involved National Treasury as well as the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) for the delivery of infrastructure from cradle to grave. This was an opportunity to mainstream IDMS in their business and deal with the ongoing risks/challenges, such as the overruns.

Chief Director Sazona stated that the Department, together with Parliament, established and interrogated the methodology where there was a close relationship to close the gap on poor planning, because there had not been communication amongst the stakeholders to identify risk. The projects that had been endorsed by the Secretary to Parliament had been implemented; those committees were running to ensure that there was proper planning going forward. DPWI welcomed the Report and saw it as a productivity report although there were some punitive issues that needed to be dealt with so that consequence management could take place. The restructuring of the Department had helped it respond to the recommendations of the Report.

The BDO Report had been given to the Minister in September 2021, being a year later. However, there were processes underway to get to the bottom of the administrative issues – which were being dealt with. Prior to the Report’s finalisation, the Department was already addressing a number of the issues identified in the Report.

On timeframes, Mr Sazona replied that audit action plans had been developed, with timeframes. In the presentation, DPWI had been unable to include the details on the timeline. It was a moving train, as there were timeframes that had been established but these were being reviewed from time to time. There was a separate document that spoke to the timelines that could be shared with the Committees, however it was a working document.

Closing remarks
The Chairperson appreciated the work done and the cooperation so far since the unfortunate incident. Issues of security would be tabled before the Portfolio Committee on Police, issues of infrastructure would be tabled before the Portfolio Committee of Public Works and Infrastructure. Parliament would deal with finance etc that might be relevant. If there was a need to meet in this manner again, to avoid duplication, it would be done.

Oversight Visit to Parliament
The Committee Secretary presented a programme for the oversight visit. Twelve Committee members had been contacted and had confirmed that they would be participating in the oversight visit. The invitation had been extended to the Portfolio Committee on Police and Select Committee as well as the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure and the Select Committee. A total of 30 people had confirmed their participation, including members of staff.

It had been confirmed that the Good Hope Chamber, 90 Plein Street, the sixth floor, the National Council of Provinces building renovations and the City Hall could be included in the programme. The other sites, where the presiding officers had been allocated, were too small – there were concerns about COVID-19 regulations for those venues - so Members should not visit those ones.

The oversight would start with an orientation briefing, where all the stakeholders would present a joint briefing to take Members through the visit. Then the tours would take place. There would then be a debriefing session where Members could raise concerns they had from the site visits.

The Chairperson asked if there were suggestions on the programme for the oversight visit.

Ms Lesoma suggested that the Committee accept it as the working programme.

Acting Secretary to Parliament Ms Baby Tyawa confirmed that Ms Mabatho Zungu, Division Manager, Institutional Support Service, would be leading the Committee with her officials.

The Chairperson asked if the logistics had been arranged.

The Committee Secretary confirmed that ground travel had been organised from Members’ accommodation or the airport. A form would be circulated to confirm the details to avoid challenges on the trip. That afternoon the political application would be submitted. Ms Zungu had supplied them with a risk assessment report confirming that the risk was low because it would be in the parliamentary precinct. Nevertheless, Parliamentary Protection Services would escort Members the entire trip.

The Chairperson asked if the other Committees would be coordinated differently from theirs. The Portfolio Committee on Police was the only other participating committee. Two Members from the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure would be participating in their capacity as MPs, as the Committee had other engagements.

The meeting was adjourned.

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