It has been over a week since the devastating fires at Parliament in Cape Town, and yet, the nation has not heard a word from the Minister for Police, Bheki Cele, nor his Deputy, Cassel Mathale.
As the IFP, we find the absence of both the Minister and Deputy Minister to be of great concern. As a National Key Point (NKP), Parliament is entitled to “protection and security services”, which are to be provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS), under their Protection and Security Services Programme.
According to the SAPS Annual Report for 2020/21, over R3.2 billion was allocated to this Programme. On 19 May 2021, when the SAPS presented their Annual Performance Plan and Budget for 2021/22 to the Portfolio Committee on Police, of the total Budget, “78.1% [was] for the compensation of employees”.
Considering this, surely, there should be sufficient budget to compensate SAPS staff working at Parliament?
Therefore, as the IFP, we must ask: How did a member of the public gain unauthorised access to the parliamentary precinct? Where were the SAPS officers?
It is our understanding – according to media reports – that the Hawks have been assigned the case and have allegedly collected “sufficient evidence” against the person accused of starting the fire.
Should the Minister not be heading up this investigation, or, at the very least, be holding regular briefings to keep the public up to date on the progress of the investigation?
Justice must take its course, but regardless of whether the accused is found guilty or not, the major failings on the part of the SAPS must be addressed. The Minister must take responsibility for the apparent lack of security at Parliament, as well as take the necessary steps to ensure there are no further security breaches – and damages – to any of our NKPs.
Hon. Z Majozi, MP
IFP Member for Portfolio Committee on Police
073 052 9556