DA bemoans Cele, Mapisa-Nqakula's no-show at meeting on Parly fire update

MInister Bheki Cele was expected to brief Parliament's joint Standing Committee on Financial Management on the ongoing investigations into the fire that destroyed large parts of Parliament.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would be writing to National Assembly Chair of Chairs Cedric Frolick as well as Deputy President David Mabuza, to urgently intervene after Police Minister Bheki Cele failed to attend a parliamentary meeting to account for the recent fire in the legislature.

Cele was expected to brief Parliament's joint Standing Committee on Financial Management on the ongoing investigations into the fire that destroyed large parts of Parliament.

He would have been joined by Cabinet colleagues Patricia de Lille and Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Friday would have been the first time Cele briefed Parliament on the ongoing investigations and security breaches leading up to the fire, while under 24-hour guard by the police.

Parliament management has already briefed the joint committee and placed the responsibility for access control on the police.

DA Spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the committee was notified at the eleventh hour that the meeting had been cancelled due to the unavailability of the ministers and the speaker.

In a statement, Gwarube said it was unacceptable and a complete disregard for Parliament's oversight role.

She said Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula, as the head of the National Assembly, should know better the importance of appearing before a joint committee, especially when the discussion centres around the failure of systems.

The committee was to receive a briefing on the damning findings of a report by audit firm BDO and the City of Cape Town's fire department.