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A major fire has engulfed the Parliament Building, raising concerns.

Jan 05, 2022

By Hajira Khota

According to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, no parliamentary protective services workers were on duty when the fire at Parliament’s Old Assembly wing occurred on Sunday. Shifts for weekends and public holidays were cancelled to economise on overtime pay.

Parliament had previously stated that investigations were underway and that no one had been injured.

However, for the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), the fire on Sunday was just the latest in a string of health and safety failures.

President of Nehawu, Mike Shingange spoke to Radio Islam International; says that had the Parliamentary Protection Service (PPS) been there they would have been able to intervene and minimise the damage.

The fire at Parliament on Sunday is the second in less than ten months. A fire that broke out in a committee room in the Old Assembly wing in mid-March 2021, but it was restricted to the room due to the sprinkler system. It was concluded that the incident was caused by an electrical failure by the official fire investigation.

Shingange says that parliament’s leadership and management must now accept responsibility for the sabotage. If there had been protection on duty, the damage would not have been as severe.

However, Sunday’s fire is the latest in a string of mishaps at the national legislature, which has not operated at full capacity in physical reality for the past 22 months of the Covid-19 lockdown.

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