'I wish I knew': Mapisa-Nqakula on whether parliament fire can be linked to July violent unrest

06 January 2022 - 11:00
National Assembly speaker and former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File photo.
National Assembly speaker and former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deaan Vivier

“I don't know and I wish I knew.”

So said National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in response to questions on whether the fire in parliament could be connected to July's violent unrest and looting.

The fire broke out on Sunday morning and gutted parts of the National Assembly building.

Speaking to SABC News this week, Mapisa-Nqakula said an analysis of what caused the fire was needed before speculating.

Despite her own suspicions, she would allow an investigation to take place and guide her.

“You know, when this sort of thing happens, you sit down and do an analysis. There is nothing as dangerous as coming to a conclusion which is not informed by a proper analysis by those trained to do so.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said only “trained specialists” can help with “connecting the dots”.

“I belong to the old school where even if I feel strongly on a matter and read certain things into it, I wait for a person who is trained to say to me, 'ma'am connect the dots here'," she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula earlier said she would not take responsibility for the fire.

“I am not responsible for any dropping of the ball in terms of security in parliament. If anything, the report I have received from the secretary of parliament is to the effect that the cameras of parliament were all working,” she said, dismissing reports about the cameras not working.

Mapisa-Nqakula added that the department of public works also assured her the cameras were working at the time of the incident.

Zandile Christmas Mafe, 49, from Khayelitsha appeared in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Tuesday in connection with the fire. His case was postponed to January 11 for further investigation.

Mafe faces charges of housebreaking, theft and arson and further charges under the National Key Points Act.


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