‘It’s quite a selfish way of thinking’: Van Damme lambastes Ndlozi over parliament fire comments

04 January 2022 - 10:00
Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme. File photo.
Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme has lambasted EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi for his comments on the fire in parliament, saying there was nothing beautiful about the destruction of the National Assembly building.

While many have been reeling from the fire that destroyed parts of the building on Sunday morning, Ndlozi said this was an opportunity to build a new parliament in Tshwane.

“Whatever the cause. Whatever the intentions: it is a beautiful fire. A fire that allows us to start from scratch. A clean slate. Don’t renovate. Turn it into a museum as we accept a gift of so beautiful a fire. A clean slate to start afresh in Tshwane,” he said.

Ndlozi suggested the building should not be restored, saying the move to Tshwane "will make parliament more accessible to public participation. Gauteng is a more accessible province in SA”.

Van Damme questioned the logic behind Ndlozi’s suggestion.

“There is nothing beautiful about the destruction of parliament. It is not the history of apartheid it carries but also democratic SA. Where will the billions for a new parliament in Tshwane come from?

“It’s crazy coming from an MP. 'It’s OK. Just spend money on a new one. Spend more billions. Who cares that money could be spent on those who need it?' It’s quite a selfish way of thinking,” she said.

DA federal chairperson Helen Zille also took a swipe at Ndlozi, accusing him of “celebrating” the tragedy rather than offering solutions that would ensure parliament could continue its work without disruption.

Zille was responding to Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, who offered alternative venues for the state of the nation address and budget speech.

“Thank you, Mr Mayor. While the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi celebrated this tragedy and urged parliament be moved to Tshwane, instead, you were trying to ensure the business of parliament continues in city facilities. No wonder the president says there is one city that works in SA,” she said.

Responding to Zille, Ndlozi said the fire was not a tragedy, but normalised poverty and landlessness.

“Tragedy is not an apartheid symbol burning down without a single loss of life. Tragedy is the normalised poverty, landlessness and squalor the black majority is subjected to in Cape Town. Humiliated next to world class white wealth and opulence. But a colonial mistress won’t care,” he said.


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