South Africa News

Mapisa-Nqakula: If Parliament fire is an attack, it’s an attack on our democracy

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has weighed in on the Parliament fire, telling the SABC that she feels strongly that there are forces of darkness at work.

The public broadcaster is quoting the Speaker as saying that it is clear that the blaze cannot be pinned on one homeless person.

A 49-year-old man has been arrested on charges of arson and theft – he’s due in court on Tuesday.

But there are still many unanswered questions around the fire, with confirmation that the sprinkler system had been shut off and that the alarm only went off when emergency teams were already there.

Mapisa-Nqakula said that if the blaze was started deliberately, the country needed to unite.

“If it is an attack on Parliament, it is an attack on our democracy. If it is an attack indeed on our democracy, then it should be dealt with as such, not only by the law enforcement agencies. South Africans must come together, close ranks, forget about the politics, and talk about how we move and march forward in unison,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Multiple fire crews were called to respond to an early morning flare-up of the blaze.

It’s understood that this latest flare-up has now been contained.

A preliminary report on the fire at Parliament is expected to be completed by this Friday.

But before experts can access the building, it will need to be declared safe to enter.

Cape Town’s firefighters have had little to no rest over the past two days. With the fire flaring up, they said that no one else would be allowed into the affected area until it was safe to do so.

On Monday, police, and Hawks members gathered outside, eagerly awaiting the go-ahead but weren’t allowed in.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille said that they now planned to use drone technology to start the process.

“What we’ve done in the meantime is to use a drone that they are putting inside the building to assess the structure of the building until the temperatures can cool down,” she said.

Although the preliminary report on the full extent of the damage to Parliament is expected on Friday, it is unclear if or how the flare-up may further delay that process.

-EWN

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Kelly Khumalo performing rituals

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