Don’t blame me for parliament fire, says Mapisa-Nqakula.. National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula got somewhat riled up when journalists insisted she accounts for the fire that gutted Parliament’s National Assembly over the weekend.
During a press briefing in Cape Town, Mapisa-Nqakula was asked if she thinks she may have “dropped the ball” and whether she takes responsibility for the blaze.
“I have not dropped the ball and I am not responsible for what happened,” she said, visibly irritated.
She was further interrogated on whether the fire is an attack on South Africa’s democracy.
“Whatever happens to Parliament, is an attack on our democracy. This is a house where policy and oversight over the executive happens.
“If police report shows there was a deliberate attack, we have to accept someone is threatening democracy,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.
Meanwhile, the South African Police Service is yet to give members of Parliament an official report.
A 49-year-old man was arrested in connection with the fire and is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
He is facing charges of housebreaking, theft and arson. He will also be charged under The National Key Point Act.
The suspect was caught with alleged stolen property after apparently gaining entry to the parliamentary precinct.
He was spotted by members of the Protection and Security Services (PSS) when they noticed the building was on fire.
Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed that the National House’s security cameras were also working at the time of the fire.
The official police report into the fire is expected later this afternoon but until then, the circumstances surrounding the blaze remains a mystery.