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Parliament, Sunday, 9 January 2022 - Parliament has noted a public statement by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), which organises staff of Parliament, that it has instructed its members not to report to the precincts of Parliament due to alleged occupational safety and health issues. The union' statement is based on the fire and safety report of the Fire and Rescue Services, released by the City of Cape Town on Friday.

Parliament wishes to state that, on 2 January 2022, the Accounting Officer of Parliament issued a communication to members of staff, informing them of restriction of access to the precincts of Parliament due to the fire incident, which has resulted in the cordoning off of affected buildings for reasons relating to safety, the investigation by law enforcement agencies and assessment by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure's multidisciplinary team of engineers.

Due to these restrictions, the physical presence of most staff members, with the exception of the management directly responsible for the management of the fire incident, is not expected until further notice.

We reiterate that the report of the Fire and Rescue Services only contains preliminary observations of the firefighters during the course of their work. It neither purport to provide conclusive findings and evidence regarding the cause and the circumstances surrounding the fire incident nor provides assessment of the safety of the other parliamentary buildings not affected by fire.

The Presiding Officers of Parliament remain committed to the spirit of the discussion last week between the Speaker of the National Assembly and the leadership of the Union, which includes a series of further engagements to try resolve the union's grievances and work together in the aftermath of the fire incident. Public exchanges during this time of crisis remain unhelpful and may serve to negatively affect the ongoing process of implementing the institutional business continuity and recovery plan.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930