Parliament on Fire
Early on Sunday morning, 2nd January, Cape Town Fire and
Rescue Services received a call that smoke was seen coming
out of the Parliamentary buildings.
Fire fighters began arriving on the scene within six minutes of the
report and before any fire alarm had been made from Parliament
itself! Cape Town Fire & Rescue Services soon had five fire
engines and 36 fire fighters on the scene.
This later swelled to 300 fire fighters and 70 vehicles
as the blaze continued to spread out of control.
Initial Damage Assessment
City of Cape Town member for Safety & Security, J.P. Smith, said
that the fire seemed to have started in the office complex on the top
floor (the offices for ANC MP’s) and gradually spread to the
The roof of the old Assembly building had completely collapsed,
the main Assembly chamber was gutted
and there were cracks showing in the walls.
Suspected Arsonist Arrested
Police reported that a 49-year-old (some reports said 51 years
old) suspect had been taken into custody. A man linked to the
fire that gutted parts of Parliament appeared in the Cape Town
Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The suspect faces charges of housebreaking, theft and arson
and will also be charged under the National Key Points Act.
Sprinkler System Disabled
Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, confirmed that the
sprinkler system at Parliament had failed to operate,
because the valves had been closed.
Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, could not offer
an explanation as to who had been responsible for this.
of Cape Town,
reported that while the
had some smoke damage,
the fire had not reached
and it was safe.
The Absence of Security Personnel
It appears that the fire had been raging for some time before
being reported. Reportedly, there were no security personnel in
the building at the time, as Parliament was not willing to pay
workers overtime during the New Year holiday weekend.
An “Opportunity to Relocate Parliament”
The fire was still blazing when Deputy-President of the
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Floyd Shivambu
announced that this burning of Parliament is an opportunity
for the relocation of Parliament to Gauteng.
Centralisation in Gauteng
Shivambu demanded that the “illogical” Cape Town location
should be reconsidered. Rather than repairing the buildings, it
would be better to move Parliament to Tshwane in Gauteng,
“a central and easily accessible area where the administrative
capital is.” “Keeping Parliament in Cape Town is plainly
illogical! The pillar is One Capital City!”
The Reason Why South Africa has Three Capitals
At the Union of South Africa in 1910 it was determined that, in
keeping with Reformation principles of Decentralisation, the three
branches of government would be geographically separated.
EFF: “A Beautiful Fire!”
EFF member of Parliament, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi described the fire as
“Beautiful !” On social media he exclaimed: “whatever the cause!
Whatever the intentions, IT IS A BEAUTIFUL FIRE!”
“A fire that allows us to start from scratch! A clean slate. Don’t
renovate! Turn it into a museum as we accept a gift of such a
beautiful fire! A clean slate to start afresh; IN TSHWANE!”
“A National Disgrace”
DA member of Parliament, Dean MacPherson, responded:
“Anyone who celebrates the burning down of Parliament
doesn’t deserve to be an MP. They are a national disgrace !”
“An Opportunity to Permanently Relocate
Parliament to Gauteng”
An official statement from the EFF declared: “If there is any
appetite to curb wasteful government expenditure and to cut all ties
related to the colonial framework established by those who
conquered this nation, this fire must serve as an opportunity to
permanently relocate Parliament to Gauteng.
This will allow government work to be synchronised …
the EFF has long called for Parliament to be relocated
to a central location for political and cost-related reasons.”
Suspicious Timing of Arson at Parliament
The African Transformation Movement (ATM) called for a
multi-party committee to investigate the “suspicious burning” of
Parliament after the devastation of this historic site on Sunday.
The ATM declared that everything isn’t as it seems. “The ATM
has noted the burning of Parliament with great suspicion.
We trust that this is not another calculated shenanigan to issue
unnecessary so-called emergency tenders for refurbishments,
private housing of the opening of Parliament,
or an attempt to scupper the inevitable secret ballot for
No Confidence motion in Ramaphosa.”
A Convenient Disaster to Derail Corruption
The ATM noted that, with Covid-19 infections declining and
Parliament planning to resume as normal, only hours away from
viewing the State-Capture Inquiry Report, this fire is suspiciously
convenient for the ANC government which would prefer their
failures and corruption not to be subjected to debate in Parliament.
A New Excuse to Sideline Parliament and Accountability
“With Covid-19 hospitalisations on the decline and the relaxation
of the Covid-19 regulations, it is becoming clear that the normal
operations of Parliament were about to resume where Ramaphosa
and his executive would be held accountable
for mis-governing the country.
Furthermore, it is suspicious that this happens on the eve of
Parliament receiving the State Capture Report where Ramaphosa,
the ANC and members of Parliament are implicated.
A multi-party team should be appointed as a matter of urgency to
get to the bottom of this strange and suspicious first-time
occurrence. The ATM has no confidence in our Intelligence
Services and thus this matter cannot be left solely in their hands.”
The Missing Parliamentary Protection Service
National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU)
Parliament branch chairperson, Sthembiso Tembu, said:
“Parliament can’t rely on the police alone. They are outside.
We are supposed to have the PPS (Parliamentary Protection
Service) inside 24 hours … the PPS were not there because they
(management) said they cannot pay overtime.”
Had they (PPS) been there, they would have been able to intervene
and minimise the damage.”
Dysfunctional Administration at Parliament
The Union said that it had already contacted administration over
health and safety concerns last year. Recommendations of a 2018
report had not yet been put into place.
Violations of Health and Safety Procedures
DA Member of Parliament, Samantha Graham, also raised
concerns about health and safety compliance issues across the
parliamentary precinct in a 2020 independent BDO assessment.
“I understand that the report details over 30 violations of concern.
To date, the September 2020 report has not been publicly
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia de Lille
said: “The report is being processed.”
A report titled “Fire at Parliamentary Complex” dated 4 January 22
based on observations made during the blaze by firefighters:
The first aid equipment was outdated and emergency staircases
were not sealed by Fire Proof doors. The fire alarm only went off
when firefighters were already on the scene.
“The sprinkler control valve set on the southern façade of the Old
Assembly building had not activated. Sprinklers did not activate.
The sprinklers were last serviced in 2017,
with service scheduled for February 2020.”
“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 using small metal latches,”
Station commander JJ Williams: “During my walk around the
affected areas, I found the National Assembly sprinkler valve was
not serviced (service date was 2/2017 and this needs to be done
every three years) and the valve appeared closed,”
“no fire alarm was received
by Cape Town fire services
from the old and new
“HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] system failed to
shut down, forcing city to isolate the electricity block. Lift safety
trip did not operate. Some emergency staircases were overcome
by smoke due to latching open of fire doors.”
Comparing This Fire with the Incident 10 Months Ago
This fire began on the top floor where ANC MP’s have offices.
Ten months ago, in mid-March 2021, a fire broke out in a committee
venue in the Old Assembly wing of Parliament, but was confined to the
room as the sprinkler system activated and extinguished the fire. An
official fire investigation determined that it had been an electrical fault.
Crime at Parliament
Over the last 22 months of lockdown, Parliament has not operated
at full capacity. Copper pipes have been stolen, drug dealing has
been reported, break-ins and vandalism has been reported, such as
with the trashing of the office of the opposition DA Chief Whip,
Since 30 July 2015 the PPS has not had a permanent head.
The incumbent leader and deputy were suspended over allegations
of corruption and security breaches and
one contract ran out while on suspension.
Devastating Security Failure Just when State
Capture Enquiry is to be Debated
ActionSA Western Cape Provincial chairperson, Vytjie Mentor,
condemned the fire as “a severe security failure … ActionSA is
appalled by the act of arson that has devasted a country’s
parliament, along with what must be regarded to be a severe
With confirmation of the arrest of a suspect, it is clear that this was no
accident and it becomes difficult to view the tragedy in isolation with
the tabling of the State Capture Commission of Enquiry next week,
Treason Against the People of South Africa
“In addition to this act of criminality, serious questions have
to be asked about security and fire systems in our Parliament.
South Africa’s Parliament is a vital symbol in our
It was intended to be a sacred place where law makers
represent the will of the South African people and hold the
President and his cabinet to account.
This act of arson which has wreaked havoc in this national key
point cannot be reduced to another fire, but an act committed
against the South African people.
Action SA’s primary focus will be to ensure that law enforcement
agencies conduct their investigations rapidly and without political
interference, especially if this is found to be another consequence
of the ANC factional fights.”
It was speculated that the fire starting in the ANC MP’s offices on
the third floor was probably convenient for those who are facing
investigation for corruption - with many records being destroyed.
The Oldest Parliament in the Southern Hemisphere
Queen Victoria granted permission for the establishment of
Parliament in the Cape Colony in 1853.
The Upper House was housed in the old Supreme Court buildings.
Construction on the Parliament building in Cape Town began 12
May 1875 with then governor of the Cape, Henry Barkley, laying
The ANC’s Intention to Relocate Parliament
In 1996 when I was summoned to meet President Nelson
Mandela, the subject came up over the ANC’s intention to
relocate Parliament to Midrand, in Gauteng.
I questioned how such an extraordinarily huge expense could be
justified in the light of his promises of housing for all?
Even in the 1990’s the money
needed to build an equivalent
structure would cost Billions of
The National Archives alone
required a colossal amount of
The Freemason Connection
Carl Niehaus, the apostate drop-out theological student who was
Mandela’s “theological advisor” said that the present
parliamentary buildings could be sold to help finance this.
To this I responded that actually they could not.
As much of Parliament sits on ground which was owned by
the South African Freemasons, the arrangement had been that
the Cape government purchased the land for £1
on condition that if Parliament was ever to be moved, the land and
all buildings on it would be sold back to the Freemasons for the
same price, i.e., £1.
While Carl Niehaus was plainly shocked to hear this, Nelson Mandela
remained impassive and plainly was well aware of this provision.
The Plot to Destroy the Houses of Parliament
On the 5th November 1605, the gunpowder plot to destroy the
Palace of Westminster, which includes the House of Parliament and
the House of Lords, in London, was thwarted with the arrest of
Guy Fawkes and his associates.
To this day the 5th November is marked with bonfires and the
familiar “Remember, remember, the 5th of November,
gunpowder treason and plot.”
The attack on the parliament of a people is treason
of the highest order.
“If a fire breaks out and spreads … he who started
the fire shall surely make restitution.” Exodus 22:6
Dr Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: (021) 689 4480
Fax: (021) 685 5884