In this virtual meeting, the Committee was briefed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on progress made in the police investigation into the cause of the January fire at the parliamentary precinct. The presentation detailed the investigation into the fire, the physical security and safeguarding of the precinct and an update on the inquiry into the security breach at Tuynhuys. There were a number of outstanding investigations including the final fire investigation report, the final report of the cyber expert, and the final damage report from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. Once all the reports have been received, the case would be transferred to the Cape Town High Court for the purposes of trial. An internal investigation into compliance with the administrative, procedural, and regulatory requirements, roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders from the SAPS by the Division Protection and Security Services was concluded on 28 February 2022. An action plan was being finalised in terms of internal shortcomings identified. The disciplinary investigations were concluded and the hearings of the three PSS members were in process.
The Committee was briefed by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on the progress of the restoration effort. The presentation outlined the progress to date on deliverable 1, Initial Assessment Report, and deliverable 2, Detailed Assessment Report. The presentation also detailed the proposed restoration implementation schedule. It was anticipated that the final signed report by Coega and DPWI will be available before 27 May 2022. The CDC Phase 2 report will provide indicative timelines for the planning and construction stages for the restoration and rehabilitation works for each building. The durations will be informed by the full extent of construction works required, construction methodologies, and complexities. DPWI implementation processes to be expedited for earliest construction commencement on the damaged buildings.
The Committee was briefed by the South African Heritage Resource Agency on its role in the restoration of buildings in the parliamentary precinct. The presentation provided a statement on the historical significance of the parliament precinct to South Africa, the damage to the heritage value and loss to the nation as a result of the fire, and the applicable legislation in terms of restoration. The Parliament of South Africa was extremely unique in that it was found to meet all the criteria for national heritage status. The presentation noted that the parliament precinct including the buildings damaged by the fire, The Old Assembly and New Assembly Buildings, was a Grade 1 Heritage Resource as well as a declared National Heritage Site. The structural damage to the buildings was extensive with the entire roof of the Old Assembly destroyed and the wooden beams that support the structure of the New Assembly had been severely affected. The heritage resources are finite and therefore the material loss of the destroyed historical fabric cannot ever be replaced, despite restoration efforts. The presentation recommended that the National Department of Public Works appoint a suitably qualified heritage consultant that will advise on the impacts of proposed actions during the restoration process as well as liaise with SAHRA. It was also further recommended that a Heritage Assessment be conducted as soon as possible to determine which actions would be least impactful to the remaining historical fabric of Parliament; which portions of the building are still salvageable, and to advise on possible actions to retain the remaining significant material on site.
Minister de Lille informed the Committee that 201 MP offices had been affected. 184 offices for the support staff were also affected.
Members expressed concern that there was no SAPS patrol patrolling the external perimeter of Parliament.
They sought clarity about the disciplinary investigations against three individuals: what were the charges against them, what measures will be taken if they are found guilty, where are they currently working and when will the cases be finalised.
Members questioned Coega’s involvement in the project and if its scope of work had changed.
The costing, outdated legislation and the finalisation of all the investigation reports were also probed by Members.
Co-Chairperson Mahlangu welcomed Members of the Committee and all those in attendance at the meeting. The number of participants in the meeting showed that there was a great interest in the work that was being done in Parliament. She thanked Members for joining the meeting on a Friday. She welcomed the Executive Authority of Parliament, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. She welcomed the Minister and Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. She welcomed the Deputy Minister of Police. She welcomed the officials from the South African Heritage Resource Agency. She thanked the media for showing interest in what Parliament was doing.
The focus of today’s meeting was an update on the issues that the Committee had previously discussed. The Committee had had engagements with Parliament, the Department of Public Works, and the SA Police Service (SAPS) on the incident that had taken place. The Committee expected an update on where things were now. The Committee was following the progress. Members were not expected to start from scratch. The Committee needed to be productive in what it did.
The Committee Secretariat communicated the apologies.
The apologies were noted.
The Secretariat informed that other committees were present.
Chairperson Mahlangu welcomed Members from different committees who were present in the meeting. The committees needed to assist one another and not go in different directions. There would be other committees that would be following on other issues, in the Select Committees and Portfolio Committees.
Adoption of the agenda
Co-Chairperson Mahlangu presented the agenda to the Committee for adoption.
Mr X Qayiso (ANC) moved for the adoption of the agenda.
Ms M Hicklin (DA) seconded the adoption of the agenda.
Introductory remarks by Parliament’s Executive Authority on current status of work in the aftermath of the 2 January 2022 fire
Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly, said the meeting would discuss the impact of the fire. The presentation would be made on Parliament’s behalf by the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and a team from Coega. Following that, questions would be taken together as a team. Parliament and the Department had been working very closely together. Parliament had been briefed about the report that would be presented in the meeting. The report that would be presented was a report of 6 May. The final report from Coega, which would be presented to DPWI and then to Parliament, would only be ready on 20 May. Today was not a presentation of that report. Today would be a discussion of the first report, which was a preliminary report. The team would talk about the establishment of the steering committee which was currently underway. The Minister would also discuss the two key deliverables of Coega. The Coega team would then engage on a range of issues. Parliament was in the process of establishing an advisory team. The advisory team would consist of engineers, who would advise the Executive Authority of Parliament on the reports that it was given from Coega through the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). DPWI made presentations to the Executive Authority of Parliament through Coega. There would be terminology, language and issues which the Executive Authority of Parliament would not understand. That was why Parliament still needed technical experts to assist it. That was the process that was currently underway by the Acting Secretary of Parliament. She emphasised that Parliament and DPWI had a framework within which they cooperate and collaborate. DPWI was the landlord of the state. Anything and everything which had to do with properties of the state could only be found with DPWI. The collaboration between Parliament and DPWI was very pertinent. That was what was happening as Parliament was dealing with this issue. At this stage, the Committee should not expect Parliament to talk about restoration or the restoration process. The restoration process could only be discussed by Parliament once it had received the final report from Coega because then it would have clarity on what it was going to do. For now, it was difficult to comment on that as the work of Coega has not been completed. The police, through Hawks, had conducted and completed their forensic investigation in Parliament. She was sure that a report would be submitted to the prosecution authorities. That was all she could say in her introductory remarks.
Co-Chairperson Mahlangu thanked the Speaker of the National Assembly for outlining the purpose and expectation. She thanked the Speaker for updating the Committee on what Parliament had done. She appreciated the cooperation that was among the departments to work together.
She requested Minister de Lille to make some introductory remarks.
Minister Patricia de Lille, DPWI, said that the Speaker had represented the working relationship between the Department and Parliament very well. The Speaker had outlined the processes that were ongoing and that the final report would be delivered to the Department today, 20 May. The members would see that when the Department gave its presentation that some events had overtaken the Department. When the presentation was given the Department would give the members the latest update. The Department was working closely with the Executive Authority of Parliament. She gave Members the assurance that when she received the final report today that would deal with the extent of the damage, the cost of the damage, and the restoration programme that would first be presented to the presiding officers. The DPWI was committed to continue working with Parliament and accepted that the Executive Authority had the final say after the final report, on the way forward. The DPWI would receive guidance from the Executive Authority because of the separation of powers, and Parliament is an institution that was governed by the Executive Authority of Parliament. The Department understood that clearly. The Department had a scheduled quarterly meeting with the presiding officers where it discussed any other work that was in progress in Parliament, that was in progress in the parliamentary villages, and any repairs and maintenance. The Executive Authority was updated on a quarterly basis and that would certainly continue. At the time the Committee convened the meeting the only progress report that was available, was the progress report of 6 May. That report would be discussed today. Subsequent to that there was another report that was finalised on 12 May. There was another one finalised on 19 May. Coega was the implementing agency and would deliver the final report today, on 20 May. The Speaker would then be appraised of everything. Then the Department would wait to get guidance from Parliament, the members of Parliament and the Speaker on the way forward.
Briefing by the South African Police Service on progress made in the police investigation into the cause of the 2 January 2022 fire on the Parliamentary Precinct
A delegation from SAPS including the National Commissioner, the Head of the DPCI and the Component Head of Strategic Management of SAPS briefed the Committee on progress made in the police investigation into the cause of the 2 January 2022 fire on the parliamentary precinct. Part A of the presentation detailed the investigation into the fire that took place at the parliamentary precinct, Cape Town. This section of the presentation was given by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). Part B of the presentation discussed the physical security and safeguarding of the precinct. Part C provided an update on the enquiry into the security breach at Tuynhuys.
• On 2 January 2022, members of the South African Police Service, stationed at the Parliament in Cape Town saw that smoke was coming from the Old Assembly building of Parliament.
• Upon further investigation the members realised that the Old Assembly building was on fire and the fire brigade from Cape Town was immediately notified.
• The members on the scene of the fire then saw an unknown African male, who was busy climbing through a window from inside the Old Assembly to the outside. Members of the Police confronted the African male and saw that he was in possession of bags containing property, which seemed to be from inside Parliament.
• The African male was arrested and detained at Cape Town Central SAPS on charges of housebreaking, theft and arson.
• The suspect was identified as Zandile Christmas Mafe, a 49-year-old male, residing in Khayelitsha.
• The crime scene was officially handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, on 2 January 2022 and a Colonel from Crimes Against the State (CATS) was appointed as lead investigating officer.
• Information on Mr Mafe’s side of the story was received and will form part of the evidence at court.
• A pointing out was also conducted by a commissioned officer not associated with the DPCI, and this will also form part of the evidence.
• Another commissioned officer, not associated with the DPCI, also recorded a confession, which will be the subject of evidence in court.
• More than 30 hours of video footage, which will speak for itself, will also be part of the evidence.
• The case against the accused, who remains in custody, is postponed to 9 June 2022, for further investigation.
• Forensic Reports were outstanding.
• The final fire investigation report, from the SAPS fire investigator and his photo album.
• Final report of the cyber expert, relating to the video downloads at Parliament.
• Final damage report from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
• Once all the reports have been received, the case will be transferred to the Cape Town High Court, for the purposes of trial.
Update: Safeguarding of the Precinct
• The internal investigation into compliance to the administrative, procedural and regulatory requirements, roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders from the South African Police Service by the Division Protection and Security Services was concluded on 28 February 2022.
• An action plan was being finalised in terms of internal shortcomings identified.
• The disciplinary investigations were concluded and the hearings of the three PSS members were in process.
• Additional static protection deployments through the payment of overtime have been implemented at the precinct.
Briefing by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on progress in the restoration effort
Mr Christo Beukes, Programme Manager, COEGA Development Corporation (CDC), on behalf of the DPWI, briefed the Committee on progress in the restoration effort. The presentation outlined the progress to date on deliverable 1, Initial Assessment Report, and deliverable 2, Detailed Assessment Report. The presentation also detailed the proposed restoration implementation schedule.
Progress to date on deliverable 1: Initial Assessment Report
• Preliminary Report issued on 23 February 2022 but incomplete due to water issue in the lower basement of the New Assembly.
• Assessment completed in basements on New Assembly after water extraction on 7 April and Report issued as Revision No 1 on 14 April 2022.
• No material changes from the Preliminary Report with pronouncements recommendationsn unchanged.
• Report taken under final review with comments effected and Final Report Revision No 2 issued on 5 May 2022 and in the process of being signed off.
Progress to date on deliverable 1: Initial Assessment Report
• Project briefing meeting held between DPWI, Parliament, SAPS & CDC on 11 April 2022 which earmarked commencement date of phase 2.
• CDC team completed all physical assessments after the Easter Weekend but had to return for follow-up assessments in specific disciplines (heritage, electrical & mechanical services).
• CDC team completed capturing the extent of damages with data sets (drawings) for both the Old and New Assembly buildings prepared to date.
• CDC quantity surveyor provided with data set input from the various built environment disciplines for cost estimation of the restorative/rehabilitation works required on both buildings.
• CDC requested an extension for the report submission due to the extent of water damage identified in the Old Assembly which was unknown and technical complexities with such assessments which required further detailed assessments of the entire building.
• It is anticipated that the final signed report by Coega and DPWI will be available before 27 May 2022.
The CDC Phase 2 report will provide indicative timelines for the planning and construction stages for the restoration/rehabilitation works for each building. The durations will be informed by the full extent of construction works required, construction methodologies, and complexities. DPWI implementation processes to be expedited for the earliest construction commencement on the damaged buildings.
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said his questions would focus on the SAPS. He directed his first question to the National Commissioner. In the first couple of slides, it noted that Mr Mafe was found in Parliament, exiting the building. Mr Mafe was taken to the Cape Town Central SAPS. It was said that he was charged with housebreaking, theft, and arson. Until it was known that a person was guilty of something the police would normally detain them. Why did the SAPS within a very short period of time charge Mr Mafe with arson? Surely the SAPS did not have evidence against him at that point? Mr Brauteseth was concerned that assumptions were made immediately which pointed to something quite sinister. He wanted an answer on that.
Further on in the presentation, ‘static protection’ was referred to. This was exactly the problem that Members had. There were no patrols of Parliament. He had been in Parliament since 2014. He often took walks around the perimeter of Parliament. He had taken many walks around the Tuynhuys gardens. He had never seen a SAPS patrol patrolling the external perimeter of Parliament. He had never seen an officer with a K9 checking entrances and patrolling the perimeter. He was concerned about the static protection of SAPS at Parliament. While they sat at gates and entrances there was no protection at the perimeter. Parliament could not rely on a fence. Clearly, it did not work. Mr Mafe had got in. What was the SAPS going to do to get themselves into gear and make sure that there was a constant perimeter patrol, with a K9 member, around the perimeter of Parliament? He asked SAPS to not come with stories of fences and lots of people sitting at a gate doing nothing. There needed to be perimeter control. He really wanted clarity on that.
He discussed disciplinary investigations. The Committee was just told in one line that three disciplinary investigations were held. He wanted to know what those disciplinary investigations were about. What were the individuals charged with? Those officers were obviously disciplined over something serious that took place over the period when the fire started. They could well be negligently responsible for the fire because they did not complete their duties. There could not be a situation where officers who may not have been patrolling, who may not have been watching the cameras, who may not have been doing their job allowed a person to come into Parliament who may or may not have started the fire. This could not be some minor disciplinary matter that was pushed to the side and forgotten about. This was extremely serious. He demanded a response as to what were those disciplinary investigations about. What were those officers charged for?
Ms A Siwisa (EFF) discussed the investigation. The Committee had heard about a suspect who was arrested. Then there was one line about three officers who were going through disciplinary proceedings. What measures were going to be taken if the disciplinary proceedings found that the officers had been found guilty of negligence? There was not enough perimeter patrol that was going on. Was there also going to be a case opened against the three people that were supposed to be on duty, if the disciplinary process found that they had been found guilty with negligence? She directed a question to the Minister of Public Works. Why was Coega involved in the proceedings? They were more involved than the IDT that the Portfolio Committee on Public Works could have oversight. The Portfolio Committee could do oversight on the IDT, yet Coega was being brought on board to deal with the issue of assessment and whatever work that needed to be done at Parliament. What were the reasons that Coega was the more preferred candidate than the IDT?
Mr M Moletsane (EFF, Free State) said that the previous Members had spoken about the three officers who had been charged. Where were these three officers at present? Were they still reporting to work? How soon should the Committee expect a conclusion of their disciplinary hearings since the investigation of their hearings had been concluded? The SAPS explained that there were still outstanding reports. How long was it going to be for the Committee to wait for the availability of those outstanding reports?
Ms S Graham (DA) discussed the SAPS report. All Members were asking questions about the disciplinary hearings. She was impressed that any organisation of government had managed to actually conclude a disciplinary inquiry without four months and was ready to proceed with disciplinary hearings. That was the first time she had ever heard that happen. She congratulated SAPS on the speed at which that had been done. Hopefully, it would bear fruit and dividends. She was curious as to why SAPS was reporting on the three projects if National Treasury had been required to sign off on it for the DPWI? Who was ultimately responsible for those three projects with respect to SAPS reporting? Where were the funds being sourced from to cover the cost of those three projects? These were not part of the initial budgeting for the new financial year. Was it emanating from the DPWI budget? Which programme did it fall under? The Committee had no idea of the costs involved with respect to these three projects.
She discussed the presentation done by the CDC. Had the scope of work changed for the CDC from their appointment on the basis of what the tender initially requested? By how much had that scope changed and at what cost? Was the Committee going to receive any report on what this debacle has cost, from the date of the fire? What had been spent on securing premises, getting rid of the water, and initial work that had been done? At what stage would the Committee receive a consolidated report of what the entire incident cost?
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) directed his question to the DPCI. The report said that the case of Mr Mafe had been postponed for further investigation. The next appearance would be on 9 June. Given that Gen Lebeya was reporting that there were outstanding reports, would the case go ahead by 9 June? Would those reports be available?
He directed a question to the DPWI. Gen Lebeya said that one of the outstanding reports was a damage report from the DPWI. The report that was going to be submitted today was it the report that the DPCI was waiting for? Or was it a different report?
He discussed the disciplinary hearings. He noted that the member before him appreciated the fact that the investigation had been done. He did not think that the members should be appreciating that. Disciplinary hearings should take place as soon as possible. In fact, this was an investigation and not a disciplinary hearing. There had not been a disciplinary hearing. It might take another four months just to have a disciplinary hearing. The Committee needed to be assured of the timeframes with regard to the disciplinary hearing. The Committee understood that the investigation took four months. The Committee needed to know when the disciplinary hearing was going to take place.
He directed a question to the SAPS. This related to the question asked by Mr Brauteseth. The report said that SAPS legal services and Parliament met to iron out issues of conflict. Those issues were clarified in the report. Had those issues now been resolved? Did they also include the issue that Mr Brauteseth had spoken about, that of monitoring?
He discussed the National Key Points Act of 1980. Was it not about time that there should be an amendment with regard to that particular Act? The grey areas that were now being faced with regard to securing national key points needed to be addressed. He noted that the South African Heritage Resource Agency had not yet reported but he had read its report. There was something about section 27(18) that spoke about damage to heritage properties. Had SAHRA opened a criminal case for the damage to Parliament, which was also regarded as one of the heritage resources? That question was also directed to the DPCI. Had they added that as part of the charges against Mr Mafe?
Ms S Van Schalkwyk (ANC) said that there were issues she wanted to raise that had been raised by previous Members. She would not go into those issues again. She emphasised the outdated legislation. Maybe members needed to look at all relevant outdated legislation and try to ensure that they were being amended to be relevant in the current juncture. When would it be possible for an onsite visit so that Members could familiarise themselves, as the affected Members of Parliament in the different committees? Members needed to see what was the state of affairs and not rely on photos and reports. It needed to be ensured that the building was safe for an onsite visit.
She discussed the costing. Was there any indication of what the estimated costs would be? Were there enough resources available to ensure that the project was finalised? Were there timelines in place so that the members could see what was envisaged with regard to the planning of the restoration process of the building? Would it take another two or three years to ensure that Parliament would be safe to use again? Her question included the NCOP. The fire led to many MPs of different political parties, and staff, being without office space. Seeing as Members were not ready to occupy offices, Members wanted to know what the process was? What was in place in terms of ensuring that the majority of the staff could return to work and would be provided with the relevant office spaces?
Mr Qayiso said that an elaborate presentation had been made. It sought to clarify Members with regard to where the Department was in the process since the last time the Committee met with the Department. The MPs were eager for this process to be fast-tracked. The public was also eager to know what was happening and what was the progress. Members appreciated the detailed progress. He discussed the disciplinary proceedings. He agreed with Mr Rayi that this was a process that SAPS was busy with and that was to investigate with the aim of disciplining the officers. It did not sound like a disciplinary hearing had been done or that people had finally been charged and put into a disciplinary process. He asked for the legal staff of the SAPS to explain this to the Committee. Did the Department know where the budget for restorations in Parliament was going to come from?
Ms L Shabalala (ANC) said that there would be an update of this update until the report was finalised. She reminded everyone that Members were representing the people of South Africa and the higher echelons of government. All the people of South Africa had the utmost trust. Their safety depended on how the state was safe. It was unfortunate that Parliament found itself in this situation. She urged SAPS to restore confidence during hopeless times. SAPS would restore confidence in communities if it spoke about disciplining the officers. There needed to be consequences and harsh consequences that were equal to the embarrassment that Parliament had experienced. She heard something about the further investigation. She was not sure if she was mixing the investigations that she was following in the media. She discussed the further investigation of the case against Mr Mafe. She tended to agree with Mr Brauteseth. Were SAPS sure about the charges to Mr Mafe? Linked to that was the crime against the state. Could SAPS share with the Committee, what had they taken from this incident for future reference? When people were angry it was easy for them to target government. What had SAPS learned from this incident? She discussed the issue of restoration. There was a lot of water in the basement and over time, after some years, there were new structural problems that might not have been previously noticed. Was there contingency funding that would be added to the funding of the restoration? She noted the programmatic stages of the projects and the procurement plan that was linked to this.
Co-Chairperson Mabe reminded Members that at the beginning of the process, the Committee had a commitment that it was expected to conduct thorough oversight and make sure it left no stone unturned, but it needed to make sure that it would not put any pressure on matters related to investigations. She cautioned the members. The Committee wanted the relevant authorities to take their time. The Committee understood that this was a high-priority case but at no point was the Committee going to put pressure on the authorities. Information could not be divulged that might compromise the case. Pressure could not be put on the relevant authorities so that information was shared which should not be shared with the public. If SAPS appeared before the Committee to give information, then it should be noted. There should be questions of clarity, but it was a process. The Committee could not put timeframes on when SAPS should complete these processes. The Committee wanted the correct perpetrators to be apprehended. The Committee wanted South Africans to be satisfied with the investigations. The Committee wanted a fair process. The Committee appreciated the work done to date. She appreciated that these institutions were willing to come before the Committee and before the public and share the little that was there without going into detail. She cautioned Members and appreciated the work that had been done by the Department of Public Works, the leadership of Parliament, by SAPS and the courts. There were laws with regard to internal disciplinary action that needed to be taken. The Chairperson encouraged that the law should be followed to the letter and that all parties were protected in this matter.
Gen Sehlahle Masemola, National Commissioner, SAPS, said that there was nothing wrong with the charges levelled against Mr Mafe. According to the law, as it investigated cases SAPS could add additional charges together with the NPA. SAPS was committed and took this matter very seriously. SAPS was doing its best in making sure that at the end of the day the case was successfully brought to the courts. He responded to the question about the internal investigation. The internal investigation had been finalised and the details would be provided on how far the case was against those officers.
Lt Gen Godfrey Lebeya, National Head, DPCI, responded to the question about the charges against Mr Mafe. Mr Mafe had been charged with housebreaking and arson. At times there might be confusion in the eyes of ordinary persons as to what the police referred to by ‘charge’. There was a language that was used by the police at the police station. The interpretation was widely different when it came to the charge for the purpose of prosecution. When a person was arrested that person must appear before the court within 48 hours. Within those 48 hours, the person must have been charged. That was the charge that the police were referring to. Once all the investigations were completed the prosecuting authority, which was the only authority that had the right to prosecute on the insistence of the state, would determine the final charge sheet. That was where other aspects that were supported by evidence would be included. He indicated that these matters might go to High Courts. If that was the case, then an indictment would also be served on the accused person. That was where the complete charge sheet would be produced. He hoped that answered the question of how the police were able to charge speedily, that was a provision charge.
He responded to the question of Mr Moletsane that related to the outstanding report. With regard to the cyber part of the report, it had been finalised and was being studied by the relevant prosecuting authority to see if it fulfilled all the elements so that if there were questions they could still be answered. There was a forensic science laboratory report that was still outstanding. Certain portions of that report had already been completed and had been shared with the investigating officer. There was a certain element that the experts needed from those who were conducting some of the investigations from the DPWI, which he would not be elaborating on. There were certain aspects that were needed from certain engineers which would form part of the forensic science report. That was what was outstanding. At the time that the DPCI was compiling its report, it was advised that by today there would be a discussion. Once the final process had been completed it would be made available. That would also form part of the docket for the purpose of the prosecution. Those were the outstanding investigation.
He responded to the question of how long the wait would be for this report to be made available. The last report would depend on the report that was from the DPWI. He did not expect it to be long, but he did not expect it to be ready by 9 June. It was also better to do proper work because the report of an expert could be subjected to serious cross-examination by other experts. That was the reason why the DPCI allowed them to do proper work. That addressed the question of the reports.
He responded to the question of whether the charges relating to the contravention of the National Heritage Resources Act No. 25 of 1999 had been added or would be added. Once the whole investigation was completed the NPA would determine whether there was a need to add any other charge. He had looked at that particular Act and the purpose of establishing that Act. All the crimes that were expected in terms of that law were accommodated in section 51. The DPCI would be seeing if anyone would be advancing charges in that regard.
Lt Gen Samson Shitlabane, Divisional Commissioner, Protection and Security Services, SAPS, responded to the question of Mr Brauteseth on the patrols around the perimeter of Parliament. The SAPS did have patrols around Parliament. Perhaps Mr Brauteseth had walked on one of those days where officers had not patrolled around, especially within Tuynhuys. Those were some of the gaps that had been identified in terms of the personnel around the parliamentary precinct. There were additional members that SAPS was paying overtime which complimented the current personnel that it had. He discussed the K9 members. It should be understood that no dogs would be used. Dogs needed to be trained. In that environment, SAPS would usually have dual dogs which perform patrols and also do the explosives. SAPS was in the process of increasing that. There were usually explosive dogs that were in that environment. SAPS had been looking at the report that had been generated in terms of the experience in Parliament. SAPS could use more resources in terms of patrolling during the night. SAPS was in the process of introducing K9, especially the patrol dogs.
He discussed the disciplinary charges against the three officers that were mentioned in the presentation. They had been charged in terms of negligence of duties. There was a process where disciplinary processes were concerned. A member was charged and then there needed to be an investigation; it would not immediately go to a disciplinary hearing. The first process was to investigate, which took time. There were prescripts that prescribed that within 60 days that needed to be completed. The charges were based on that. The first officer would appear on 31 May. The other two members would appear on 7 and 8 June. The dates had been set. In terms of the disciplinary procedure, SAPS had to appoint functionaries that were going to deal with the disciplinary process.
He responded to the question of Mr Moletsane on where the three officers were now. The three officers had been temporarily placed outside Parliament. They were deployed within stations outside the protection services, which was temporary until the disciplinary process was finalised. SAPS would then get the findings which would say whether there should be a dismissal or not. The Regional Commissioner or National Commissioner would then be able to review. That was the process that SAPS had to follow.
He responded to the question about the sourcing for the three projects. The DPWI would be able to answer on the funding of those three projects. SAPS came in as a security advisory. SAPS would do an appraisal. All the physical security which was presented would come from SAPS under the security advisory services. It would determine what kind of perimeter, what kind of CCTV cameras, and what kind of motion detector and beams were needed.
He responded to the question of outdated legislation on the national key points. The National Key Points Act was from 1980. There was a new Act called the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2019. This would replace the old Act, which was the National Key Points Act. The Civilian Secretariat for Police Service had already started drafting the regulations. SAPS’ responsibility was to give the content. There were temporary regulations that would be signed and given to the Minister. Then they would be presented to Parliament. This was the process.
He responded to the question about the disciplinary process. The disciplinary process meant that SAPS needed to investigate. Two officers were appointed as investigators. The three officers that were charged had a case to answer and that was why they were charged.
Gen Masemola discussed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act. The Act required that a council be appointed. The Minister had appointed a council. The regulations had been published last week. Those parts of the Act that needed to come into operation would then start to be in operation.
Co-Chairperson Mabe said that this was a work in progress and that members would not be able to get all of the answers today.
Minister de Lille responded to the question about how many offices were affected in Parliament. 211 offices of Members of Parliament, five offices of presiding officers, 193 offices of Assembly Members and 13 NCOP Members had been affected. 184 support staff offices were also affected by the fire. Parliament did an assessment and had been able to swap some of the administrative offices for Members of Parliament. The Department had also made available eight offices to the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP and would be accommodated on the seventh floor of 120 Plein Street. Office space had also been made available on the second and twelfth floor of Parliamentary Towers. Some offices had also been made available on 90 Plein Street. Most Members had been resettled.
She discussed the damages to Parliament and the readiness for the report to go to the NDPP. She had discussed it with the Speaker this morning, the Department would ensure that once it received the final report today that it would start processing it so that it would meet the deadline long before 9 June. The Department would give the Committee that assurance. She discussed the issue of the cost. The report that the Department would be receiving today would deal with the extent of the damage, the cost of the damage, and the restoration time. The Department, therefore, did not have that information currently. That included information on the procurement process. The procurement process would all be subject to the approval of Parliament. The Department did not have information on that yet because it would be discussed with Parliament before any procurement.
Mr Alec Moemi, Acting Director-General, DPWI, responded to the question on the appointment of Coega. National Treasury had granted the Department deviation insofar as state implementing agencies were concerned. That panel of implementing agencies was invited to have a competitive bidding process. After the bidding process, Coega had the lowest of the quotations. That quotation was accepted and approved by the Department. Coega was appointed for that purpose. The Department was not aware of any process that was related to the IDT. At the time of this, the IDT had no capacity to be able to handle a job of this magnitude. They did not compete in the competitive bidding process.
Briefing by the South African Heritage Resource Agency on its role in the restoration of buildings on the Parliamentary Precinct
Mr Ben Mwasinga, Manager: Built Environment Unit, SAHRA, briefed the Committee on its role in the restoration of buildings on the parliamentary precinct. The report was submitted by SAHRA to provide a statement on the historical significance of the parliament precinct to South Africa, the damage to the heritage value and loss to the nation as a result of the fire, and the applicable legislation in terms of restoration. On assessment, the Parliament of South Africa was extremely unique in that it was found to meet all the criteria for National Heritage status. The presentation noted that the parliament precinct including the buildings damaged by the fire, The Old Assembly and New Assembly Buildings, is a Grade 1 Heritage Resource and a declared National Heritage Site. The structural damage to the buildings was extensive with the entire roof of the Old Assembly destroyed and the wooden beams that support the structure of the New Assembly have been severely affected. The heritage resources are finite and therefore the material loss of the destroyed historical fabric cannot ever be replaced, despite restoration efforts.
The South African Heritage Resources Agency recommended that DPWI appoint a suitably qualified heritage consultant that will advise on the impacts of proposed actions during the restoration process as well as liaise with SAHRA and make their applications on the South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS).
SAHRA also further recommended that a Heritage Assessment be conducted as soon as possible to determine which actions would be least impactful to the remaining historical fabric of Parliament; which portions of the building are still salvageable; and to advise on possible actions to retain the remaining significant material on site.
Co-Chairperson Mabe said that the presentation had been accepted as an information-sharing presentation that did not require any recommendations or actioning. The Chairperson thanked SAHRA for the presentation.
Mr Brauteseth said that all Members knew what Parliament looked like at the moment. Was there any SAHRA guideline to try and preserve the nature of the look of the building when it was rebuilt? It had a very specific style and design. There were many parts of the building which would be able to be rehabilitated. When the National Assembly was rebuilt, was there a SAHRA guideline that stated it needed to stay in that type of style? Or was that more an architectural design spec thing? Did SAHRA have no influence in that?
Mr Mwasinga responded that SAHRA had a guideline in terms of permitting processes for sites in the built environment. That ultimately determined the processes that must be followed. In terms of Parliament specifically, Parliament had a CMP which was a Conservation Management Plan. This determined what aesthetic look and what actions may or may not be taken at Parliament. The fire had destroyed a significant portion of it. This was why the permitting process became important as well as the CMP. SAHRA did not want that during the restoration process whatever could be salvaged was not salvaged. SAHRA did not want such a deviation from the site as it looked now that it began to resemble something that was not declared. The site had been declared a National Heritage Site. That had been declared in a particular state of conservation. There were guidelines and the CMP that sought to keep it within those parameters. On the final look in terms of what could not be salvaged, SAHRA at this point could not make a determination. When the designs were sent, he was certain that Parliament would be given the opportunity to comment on those designs. SAHRA would also ensure that there was input from the broader public. There were guidelines and there was a CMP that kept the designs within certain parameters. However, due to the extensive damage whatever could not be salvaged SAHRA would have to receive new design proposals for that. That may alter the look of Parliament. SAHRA would not permit the look or the feel of Parliament to be changed to such an extent that it was something completely new.
Co-Chairperson Mabe said that in summary, Parliament would be preserved and Parliament would be brought to its original look. She thought it was unfair to speculate on how much was left and what could be saved. She was sure that SAHRA had not done that investigation, so it was unfair to ask. That would be left for another meeting. She thanked Members for attending the meeting. She thanked Parliament’s Executive Authority, the Minister of Public Works, the Deputy Minister of Police, and the leadership from SAHRA for availing themselves for the meeting. This matter was a work in progress. Questions that were not adequately responded to would be answered in writing. Future meetings would depend on the availability of progress. When the reports were completed then the Committee could call more meetings.
The meeting was adjourned.
Mabe, Ms BP
Mahlangu, Ms DG
Brauteseth, Mr TJ
De Lille, Ms P
Graham, Ms SJ
Gwarube, Ms S
Hicklin, Ms MB
Kiviet, Ms N
Lesoma, Ms RMM
Maleka, Ms AD
Mamaregane, Ms ML
Mapisa-Nqakula, Ms NN
Masondo, Mr NA
Mathale, Mr C
Mmoiemang, Mr MK
Moletsane, Mr MS
Ntobongwana, Ms N
Qayiso, Mr XS
Rayi, Mr M
Shabalala, Ms LF
Siwisa, Ms AM
Van Schalkwyk, Ms SR
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