Cape Town - Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has described the firefighters who were on the ground during the Parliament fire as a “formidable team”.
In a special ceremony organised by Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mapisa-Nqakula said the real task for action to fight the fire, however, was left to these members of the fire department, the first responders, who jumped into the danger to avert even bigger devastation.
“On Sunday morning our country literally woke up to a dark cloud hovering over the horizon. An incident so devastating for our country’s democracy left us almost paralysed and truly saddened. The institution of Parliament, the symbol of our unity and freedom, was on fire.
“For many South Africans, the response to this incident could only have been one of shock. As the leadership, we could only be contemplating, planning, communicating and observing,” she said.
She embraced the role of the firefighters and said the team showed the real size of their hearts.
Video: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
“On behalf of our Parliament leadership, our head of state, and the nation, we thank you. Not only do we thank you for your bravery, but for your love of your country that led you to even answer to this calling in the first place.
“We had been standing around you on the ground, confident only in your abilities and our prayers that you succeed to protect us all and salvage our democracy.
“We also want to thank your families for accepting that they share both you and your love for them, with the nation,” Mapisa-Nqakula said. “The blaze is now down and extinguished, but our gratitude to you is eternal. We want to thank the governance structures of the city under the mayor, and the commanders of the fire brigade for the sterling leadership you have given and for co-ordinating between us,” she added.