What you said: The fire at parliament and ConCourt attack are related to July unrest

10 January 2022 - 09:00
A fire destroyed parts of parliament in Cape Town last week.
A fire destroyed parts of parliament in Cape Town last week.
Image: Moloto Mothapo via Twitter

TimesLIVE readers have weighed in on those behind the fire that engulfed parliament last week, sharing their belief the blaze is linked to a recent attack on the Constitutional Court and the unrest that rocked KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last year.

The New Assembly building and parts of the Old Assembly building were destroyed by the fire. Zandile Christmas Mafe appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court last Tuesday in connection with the blaze. He faces charges of housebreaking, theft and arson and further charges under the National Key Points Act.

His case was postponed to January 11 for further investigation.

Paul Makaula, 36, appeared in the Hillbrow magistrate’s court on Friday after he was arrested for allegedly breaking windows at the Constitutional Court with a hammer last Wednesday. He is alleged to have caused damage to the court building estimated at R50,000.

He is facing a charge of malicious damage to property, with the NPA considering additional charges. He was remanded in custody and his case postponed to March 25.

National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told journalists on Wednesday she could not speculate on whether the parliament fire could be linked to last year’s unrest.

“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,” said Mapisa-Nqakula. 

She said she would wait for experts to make a pronouncement.

SA Communist Party boss Blade Nzimande was more blunt in his analysis, saying his party suspects the fire in the parliamentary precinct and attack at the Constitutional Court are linked to the unrest.

“We want to give the law enforcement agencies an opportunity to go very deep into this thing, but our suspicions are that this thing of burning parliament is not unconnected to the counter-revolution in July,” he said.

TimesLIVE readers agree, with 69% of those who voted in a poll on the topic saying they believe both incidents are linked to the unrest. 10% said they are not related.

21% said they would wait for the results of investigations. 

The debate continued on social media.

“I trust the preliminary findings of the City of Cape Town which suggest system failure, and thus ruling out arson. July unrest doesn’t even feature,” wrote Sibusiso SE Gumede.

Thabisile Wenu said: “It is the same as those July riots. People were confused then about police coordination. Again police are confusing people by arresting a useless man and calling him a culprit. It’s political.”


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