South Africa: Slight Delay in Rubble Removal will not Affect Deadline for Rebuilding of Fire-Gutted Buildings

South Africa: Slight Delay in Rubble Removal will not Affect Deadline for Rebuilding of Fire-Gutted Buildings

South Africa: Slight Delay in Rubble Removal will not Affect Deadline for Rebuilding of Fire-Gutted Buildings

South Africa: Slight Delay in Rubble Removal will not Affect Deadline for Rebuilding of Fire-Gutted Buildings

Parliament has taken note of media reports alleging that the delay in the timeframes for rubble removal in the fire-gutted buildings will impact the completion deadline of the rebuilding project, set for November 2025. These allegations are entirely unfounded. Parliament emphatically stresses that there are no significant risks of delays in delivering these essential upgrades within the specified timeframes. We are resolute in our commitment to completing the projects as scheduled and providing an improved working environment for Members of Parliament and staff.

While a month’s delay in the rubble removal process is not uncommon for projects of this nature, it will not have a material effect on the original set timeframes. Infrastructure development projects often involve unforeseen challenges, necessitating a process of discovery and detailed investigations as project stages unfold. Such factors may potentially impact time, cost, or the final scope of work.

The delay in the rubble removal was caused by serious structural and biological risks, including low oxygen levels and suspicion of the presence of bio-fumes, as well as unexpected stormwater ingress. Ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved in the project is paramount, and these necessary interventions were implemented to address identified risks and prevent potential injuries or fatalities. The responsible project team could not, in good conscience and professional ethics, overlook such significant risks to human life in the pursuit of avoiding media criticism.

However, we assure the public that these regulatory and precautionary measures will not significantly impact our objective of repairing and upgrading the Old Assembly and the New Wing, aligning with stakeholder expectations.

Substantial progress has already been made on the project, including demarcating safe access routes by engineers and safety specialists, asset verification, and the appointment of a contractor for assets, debris, and rubble removal. Additionally, a temporary roof has been constructed over the Old Assembly Building to replace the one destroyed by the fire.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), as the project implementation agent, has successfully appointed professional teams for the work in both the Old&New Assembly buildings. These teams will collaborate on a cloud-based platform, enabling efficient production of concept designs and final drawings for contractors, thereby shortening construction timeframes. They will also oversee extensive structural rebuilding and analysis, as well as decision-making on reconstruction methodologies. Stakeholder consultations and inter-agency collaboration, including external and independent reviews, will ensure the prudent allocation of funds and optimal outcomes for Parliament as an institution.

It is important to note that the rubble removal contract has been strategically planned to run concurrently with the technical design stages. This approach ensures that the restoration and reconstruction projects can progress efficiently without delays.

In addition to the work on the Old Assembly and New Wing buildings, we have prioritized addressing the immediate workspace needs of our Members of Parliament and staff at the 90 Plein Street building during the rebuilding process. The project, which began on July 17, 2023, is currently approximately 40% complete. Our aim is to ensure that the work of parliamentarians is not adversely affected during this rebuilding phase. The significant progress achieved demonstrates our commitment to expediting our infrastructure delivery program.

To mitigate potential risks, we have implemented stringent monitoring and accountability measures. Transparency and open communication remain integral to our approach. In this regard, we have regularly provided updates to all stakeholders, including political parties in parliament, to keep everyone informed and engaged throughout the process.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.