African National Congress (ANC) MP and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that the relocation of Parliament to Pretoria would make sense, financially and politically, but lambasted those celebrating the building being damaged by fire.
Mbalula said in a tweet that a decision to relocate parliament to Gauteng was taken a long time ago, “but not at the exploitation of dubious circumstances, relocating made financial and political sense”.
Mbalula also took a swipe at those who celebrated the institution being burned down.
“In South Africa today there’s a coterie of a few individuals who make the loudest noise – they even celebrate the burning of democracy institutions infrastructure.”
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had earlier this week said any funds allocated for repairs to the damage caused by the fire to the Parliamentary precinct, should be spent on relocating Parliament to Tshwane instead.
“To maintain this colonial pact of how we organise our society is nothing but a betrayal of African people and a reaffirmation that white-racist spatial and political planning still over-determines our lives in this country,” EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said.
The man alleged to be have ignited the fire that gutted down the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces buildings appeared before the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday and will remain in custody pending a bail hearing.
Zandile Christmas Mafe faces several charges including arson, theft, housebreaking and contravention of the National Key Points Acts.
Mafe’s lawyer said he denies the charges, adding that he was being made the scapegoat for the fire.
He was arrested on the premises of the Parliament complex by police after they noticed the fire Sunday morning.