The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said it will take a long time for Parliament to fully recover from the devastating fire that destroyed the National Assembly (NA) and other parts of the parliamentary buildings and left NA MPs without offices.
Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said this yesterday during a NA sitting, in which MPs addressed the House and said their farewells, as they marked the end of the year and depart for constituency period and go on leave.
In bidding farewell to her colleagues, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said despite the fire, the NA managed to carry on with its mandate of promoting public participation, facilitating cooperative governance and oversight, and passing several Bills.
She recommitted Parliament to advancing accountability, particularly as it relates to the recommendations contained in the State Capture Report and the report of the Ad hoc Joint Committee on Floods Disaster Relief and Recovery in KwaZulu-Natal. Ms Mapisa-Nqakula also thanked the chief whips forum for promoting a spirit of cooperation among NA Members from the various political parties.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC, Ms Doris Dlakude, thanked NA MPs for their deep commitment to their work, saying that the fire has had no impact on the NA’s performance in 2022. Ms Dlakude also thanked her colleagues in the chief whips forum and in the parliamentary administration for all their good work.
In her farewell speech, the Chief Whip of Democratic Alliance in the NA, Ms Siviwe Gwarube, praised Parliament’s Presiding Officers for steering the institution through turbulent times after the fire, demonstrating calm and impeccable leadership. She called for the rebuilding of Parliament and asked that not a single cent should be misspent during the rebuilding.
Ms Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi of the Economic Freedom Fighters said as the year 2022 comes to an end, people are still living in tents after the recent April floods in KZN. She highlighted the state of South Africans who are sinking in deep poverty and who are in despair and called on her colleagues to mobilise whatever resources they can to help them. She also called for a collective effort to end the scourge of gender-based violence wherever it occurs.
The Chief Whip of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mr Narend Singh, remembered the lives of those who passed away in the April floods and in other tragedies throughout the year. MPs must never lose sight of the fact that people are an important pillar of democracy.
Mr Cornelius Mulder of the Freedom Plus said 2022 has been a difficulty year. Covid-19 and the fire have forced Parliament to change the way it works. He welcomed the spirit of cooperation that exists between parties within Parliament and called on them to show exactly how hard they work together for the benefit of all South Africans.
7 December 2022