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Heat detected in basement in parliament damaged by fire poses no danger

Engineers tasked with carrying out inspections of the fire-damaged parliament have detected heat in areas of the building’s basement.

This was revealed on Wednesday by parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo, who said the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service had been called to attend the heat.

“The Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service officials who responded to the call…after conducting the inspection, expressed their satisfaction that the heat posed no potential for flare-ups or danger to anyone,” Mothapo said.

“This was a precautionary measure to avoid a potential flare-up, and there was no immediate danger to the inspectors currently on site or the general parliamentary community.”

“The fire brigade will submit a full report on this to the House of Representatives.”

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

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

The preliminary round of the city of Cape Town report the incident revealed how Parliament was failing to comply with fire safety regulations and having lax security in the days leading up to the fire.

The report found that the sprinkler control valve on the south facade of the Old Assembly building had not activated and the sprinklers did not fire. It also stated that the sprinklers were last serviced in 2017, although a service was scheduled for February 2020.

It turned out that the fire doors had not been closed properly when the fire broke out due to specially fitted bolts to prevent them from closing.

Arrest and Charge

A 49-year-old man, Zandile Mafe, was arrested in connection with the fire. He faces six charges, including one count of terrorismtwo counts of arson, robbery, burglary with intent to steal, and possession of explosive devices.

The Cape Town court last Friday granted the state a six-week delay to complete the investigation at the request of prosecutor Mervyn Menigo.

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

He also told the court that some of Mafe’s items of clothing are still under investigation, while other items found in the suspect’s possession need to be identified.

“A cell phone in the suspect’s possession has yielded certain data and certain clues coming from the phone must be followed and statements obtained,” the prosecutor said.

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