CoCT eyes bylaw change to better regulate safety compliance of state buildings

The City of Cape Town's JP Smith said that the bylaws had to be looked at so as to allow buildings such as Parliament to be better monitored.

Parts of the parliament precinct in Cape Town were left gutted after a fire on 2 January 2022. Picture: JP Smith/City of Cape Town

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town wants to change bylaws so it can better regulate fire and safety compliance in state-owned buildings like Parliament.

It said that current bylaws, and Parliament being a national key point, made it more difficult for it to regulate safety adherence.

The City of Cape Town's JP Smith said that the bylaws had to be looked at so as to allow buildings such as Parliament to be better monitored.

In its report, the city's fire department said that sprinklers were last serviced in 2017 and it was unclear which parts of the building were fitted with such a system.

"And it applies not only to the fire safety by-laws but to your building development regulations, your environmental health by-laws... there are a variety of other laws for which Parliament and national state assets don't comply with and when we serve notices on them they will ignore those notices," Smith said.

Meanwhile, trade union Nehawu said that it had been assured by Parliament managers that it was safe for staff to return to work in buildings that weren't affected by the blaze.

Nehawu's Temba Gubula: "They provided therefore to the union the certificates of maintenance to show that the buildings that the union was concerned about there was regular inspection and regular maintenance of fire equipment and related matters."