A fire destroys part of the South African Parliament | International


The fire that broke out this Sunday in the South African Parliament, located in Cape Town, is already under control, according to the authorities. The causes of the fire are still unknown and the authorities continue to review the images recorded by security cameras. No injuries or fatalities have been reported and at least one suspect has been detained. “I can confirm that a 51-year-old man has been detained for questioning regarding the fire today in Parliament,” police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo told local media on Sunday.

The flames, which generated a dark and dense column of smoke over the center of Cape Town, collapsed part of the roof of the Parliament and was affected an entire floor. Hours later, the smoke began to subside, however, the fire had already devastated most of the compound, as well as valuable national archives and assets, including “historical treasures of Parliament’s heritage,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, who approached to the place to assess the damage and praised the work of the firefighters. “This is devastating, just one day after our farewell to Archbishop Desmond Tutu,” said the president through a statement. Both the president and dozens of high-ranking South African politicians were in Cape Town for Tutu’s funeral, which took place on Saturday at the city’s St. George’s Cathedral, one block from the building that houses Parliament. .

Fire in the National Assembly building at the South African parliamentary complex in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday.
Fire in the National Assembly building at the South African parliamentary complex in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday.STRINGER (EFE)

The South African Parliament compound consists of three buildings, the oldest completed in 1884, while the other two date from the first half of the 20th century and house the two houses of Parliament. According to local media, the fire first affected the old section and then reached the building of the National Assembly, the lower house of the South African legislature. “The fire is on the third floor. Initial information indicates that it started in the office area and is spreading to the gym, ”explained Cape Town City Council Security Officer Jean-Pierre Smith on Sunday morning. “The entire building has suffered extensive damage from smoke and water,” he added.

The city’s emergency crews were notified of the fire around 5 a.m. local time on Sunday (0300 GMT), confirmed Jermaine Carelse, a spokesman for the Cape Town Fire and Rescue service. “Part of the roof is melting, an indication of the intense heat. There are reports of some walls showing cracks, which could indicate a collapse, ”Carelse warned.

This South African city already experienced another traumatic fire last April, when a fire broke out on the famous Table Mountain in Cape Town, which is part of the homonymous national park. The fire later spread to the campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and razed its historic Jagger Library, burning thousands of valuable ancient books and manuscripts about the African continent.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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