The provincial secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) in the Western Cape, Baxolise Mali says heads must roll following a disastrous fire that broke out in parliament in Cape Town on Sunday morning.
Mali said security guards were not on duty when the fire broke out due to a cost-cutting directive they received at the beginning of December. Mali said:
They stopped protection services (security) from coming in on weekends because they said parliament doesn’t have money, so they would not be able to pay them for overtime.
Now the leadership and management of parliament must take responsibility for this sabotage. If protection services were on duty, the damage would have not been this extensive.
The problem with the police is that they are only stationed outside the building and they are hardly inside, so it wouldn’t be easy for them to detect the fire.
Mali also raised the issue of the alleged failure of fire alarms to go off when the blaze started. He said:
That simply shows you that the occupational health and safety standards are non-existent in that building. We’ve been fighting a lot about compliance issues in that building, including the issue of security. There are a lot of break-ins in the building.
Former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane who now leads OneSA expressed concern over the development. He said:
I am alarmed that protection service nightshift workers were removed.
I am listening to the Nehawu representative speaking to the @SABCNews. #ParliamentFire
It seems that many health and safety and compliance protocols were not followed. This has really cost us as a nation.
An external auditing firm, BDO early this year made recommendations on how to make the building safer after a fire at parliament in March last year but Parliament was yet to implement the recommendations, according to Mali.