Parliament fire: Report ‘hidden’ from De Lille had damning findings about fire safety | News24

Parliament in Cape Town on January 03, 2022 in Cape Town.

(Images by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

  • A report by auditors advisable in November 2020 that the parliamentary precinct ought to be reviewed by a fireplace marketing consultant.
  • The report discovered that sprinkler techniques in Tuynhuys and the NCOP had been insufficient.
  • Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille beforehand stated officers had hidden the report from her.

A report by auditors BDO, which was apparently hidden from Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, made damning findings about hearth hazards at Parliament greater than a 12 months earlier than a blaze gutted the National Assembly and Old Assembly wings of the legislature.

In August 2020, following a aggressive tender course of, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure appointed an exterior auditing firm, BDO, to conduct an unbiased evaluation on the sluggish progress of Prestige refurbishment tasks at Parliament.

This included the refurbishment of the NCOP constructing, together with electrical installations, work on the Parliamentary Precinct, upgrades of workplace buildings, routine upkeep to Parliamentary Villages, and structural repairs to the Old Assembly Building.

BDO’s last report was offered to the division in November 2020.

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It made the next discovering: “Ventilation system design and fire protection in the Precinct needs to be reviewed by a fire consultant.”

This discovering comes after a go to to the 90 Plein Street constructing, however the report said: “This treatment plan should not be limited to 90 Plein Street, but also to all the other buildings in the Precinct.”

Another discovering of the report reads as follows: 

During the positioning go to to the NCOP constructing and Tuynhuys on 21 September, it was famous that Tuynhuys shouldn’t be fitted with an computerized sprinkler system and that the NCOP constructing’s sprinkler system has not been operational for a while. Although these buildings would possibly already adjust to the rules as set out in SANS 10400-T:2011 (South African Bureau of Standards, 2014), it ought to be considered that the aim of this code is to save lots of lives, not buildings.

“As these buildings form part of the National Heritage and are National Key Points, contains significant amount of wood, it is concerning that there seems to be no automated fire systems in place to protect these buildings from destruction in case of fire.”

“The hearth safety system of the NCOP constructing’s library seems to be state-of-the-art, however it’s uncertain if this method would have the ability to defend the library in case the constructing ought to catch hearth.

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“If the remainder of the constructing would catch file, the roof the place the system’s gasoline cylinders are saved, would additionally catch hearth, because the construction comprises a big quantity of wooden.”

Tuynhuys, the presidential office is Cape Town, is right next to the National Assembly building, which has been severely damaged in the fire.

READ | Parliament fire: Alleged arsonist Zandile Mafe starts mental observation, embarks on hunger strike

In September 2021, De Lille released a statement, saying official had hidden the BDO report from her and that steps would be taken against them.

De Lille told Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament that all systems were in working order ahead of the fire which broke out on 2 January.

Last week, the City of Cape Town’s fire department released a post-incident report into the blaze that confirmed that the National Assembly sprinkler valve had not been serviced since 2017, and was closed at the time of the fire. The report also confirmed that the fire doors were latched open, which assisted in the spread of the fire.

Parliament has repeatedly said that these are only preliminary findings.

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