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Following the devastating fire that engulfed the South African parliament building, a preliminary report has suggested the building is safe and not in danger of collapse.

This was revealed on Friday by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) advising Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of the progress of the independent fire damage assessment by the development entity Coega Corporation.

A joint statement from the presidents and the department said, “The current structural damage does not pose a risk of building collapse.”

He says there is, however, serious structural damage to the central structure from the second to sixth floors.

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“Urgent work is needed to secure parts of the old assembly to the exterior walls and to provide a temporary roof to prevent rain damage to the floors below.”

The Coega team carried out most of the preliminary assessment for:

  • Assess fire-damaged buildings within the compound to pronounce the extent of the damage
  • Provide professional structural safety advice.
  • Provide measures to temporarily secure the structure to allow investigations to proceed unimpeded

Coega said “urgent work is needed to secure parts of the old assembly to the exterior walls and to provide a temporary roof to prevent rain damage to the floors below”.

Depending on the entity, the status of the damage assessment is as follows:

  • Loose debris (roof, ceiling panels, etc.) at roof level and on the 5th floor should be removed immediately, as they can fly off on windy days and pose a hazard.
  • Water in basement delayed conclusion of Final Initial Assessment Phase 1
  • HAWKS and the forensic fire investigation must first be completed before Phase 2 (Final Assessment Report) can begin
  • Securing fire-damaged areas of the National Assembly to begin immediately after HAWKS and other investigations

He said phase 2 submission of the report is envisaged by early May 2022 (subject to completion of investigation by Hawks by April 1, 2022)

“The restoration project will begin as soon as all internal project registration processes are complete.”

A Sunday Times report from January found that the National Assembly building was uninsured, leaving the huge costs of reconstruction on the shoulders of taxpayers.

Experts have estimated the repairs could cost at least R1 billion.