Nehawu concerned about revelations of heat detected in Parliament

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) in Parliament has expressed worry over the discovery of heat in the National Assembly building’s basement.

The structural engineers from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, who are now inspecting the fire-damaged building, have detected up some heat at select spots in the National Assembly building’s basement, Parliament said on Wednesday.

There were no immediate threats, according to Parliamentary Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

“Structural engineers from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, who are currently conducting inspections inside the fire-damaged National Assembly Building, have picked up some heat at certain spots in the basement of the building, and have swiftly called the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service Department to attend to the heat.

This is a precautionary safety measure to avert any potential flare-up, and there is no immediate danger to either the inspectors currently on-site or the general parliamentary community.”

The video below is reporting on Parliament fire in January:

Avoid getting closer to the burnt buildings

NEHAWU says it’s not happy with the latest developments.

“The union is concerned about reported hotspots that have been detected by engineers on the basement of the National Assembly.

We are concerned because there are workers of Parliament that are there in Parliament.

They might not be in the  National Assembly but there are other buildings that are linked to the National Assembly, for instance, the National Council of Provinces, Africa House and you know, Marks Building.

So we are saying up until such time that we know exactly what’s going on and there is no danger to the workers, workers should not be forced to be at work in Parliament,” says Chairperson in Parliament, S’thembiso Tembe.

Tembe says workers should avoid getting closer to the Old and New National Assembly Buildings until the matter about hotspots has been properly attended to. He says, however, NEHAWU also wants to reiterate that the two damaged buildings are not the only ones which NEHAWU is concerned about.

“Our position is that all the buildings of Parliament are not safe.

We don’t think that all those buildings have been properly looked at for a number of years, as it has been indicated by various reports to say that some inspections were not being done properly.

So the issue of the hotspots really is a big concern for us. We don’t want a situation wherein in addition to the damage that has been caused to the building, we’ll end up losing lives of the workers.

So we hope that this matter is attended to,  but while it is attended to, people should be far away and they should not be closer to those particular buildings”

Independent investigators to assess safety and damage

Investigations into the fire have been ongoing in the Parliamentary precinct.

However, the two buildings have already been declared unsafe to enter. Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia De Lille has recently appointed Coega Development Corporation (CDC) to assess the damage caused by the fire in the Old and New National Assembly Buildings.

CDC is expected to provide professional advice on the safety of structures and measures that have to be taken to make it temporarily safe for investigations to proceed uninterrupted.

The Corporation is also expected to submit a secondary detailed assessment report to determine the extent of the damage and the residual strength of the structures.

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