Wrong fence height, Eskom power cuts: Parly hears about breaches ahead of blaze

Police management have been briefing Parliament about security breaches leading up to the devastating fire on 2 January 2022.

Parliament's National Assembly on fire again after a flare-up on 3 December 2022. Picture: @MolotoMothapo/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The police said the outer perimeter fence of Parliament was the incorrect height and should be twice as tall.

Police management have been briefing Parliament on Friday about security breaches leading up to the devastating fire on 2 January 2022.

They shifted a lot of the blame to other departments and Parliament on how security failed on the night of the fire.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and police officials have briefed Parliament for the first time since fire broke out earlier this month.

Parliament management had previously told the committee that access control was the police’s responsibility and that its officials had been on compulsory leave.

Lieutenant general Sam Shitlabane, head of security and protection services in the police, said the police were not responsible for everything, like the perimeter fence.

“The current height of the perimeter fence at the back, which is government lane, stands at 1.3 metres and in terms of the Act it should be at three metres high.”

Eskom also got a mention and was blamed for a power outage last month, which resulted in the malfunctioning of the video wall.

“The power outage forced by Eskom on 21 December 2021 resulted in malfunctioning of the video until prior to the Parliament fire incident.”

Shitlabane said disciplinary proceedings had been instituted against four police members on duty that day.