South Africa: Parliament building in Cape Town catches fire – Al Jazeera English


Firefighters were present at the building as large flames and a huge column of smoke were seen at around 05:30 GMT.

A major fire has broken out in the South African parliament building in Cape Town.

Firefighters arrived at the building as large flames and a huge column of smoke were seen at around 05:30 GMT on Sunday.

The fire started in the early hours of the morning in the third-floor offices and spread to the National Assembly chamber, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse told local media.

No people have been injured in the fire, which was reported by security guards, Carelse said.

The mayoral committee member for safety and security, Jean-Pierre Smith, said flames had engulfed the roof of the National Assembly building.

“The fire has not been contained and reports of cracks in some walls of the building have been confirmed,” Smith said, according to South Africa’s Sunday Times.

Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille, however, said it wasn’t the National Assembly building that had caught fire, as indicated earlier by the Cape Town city council, but the Old Assembly.

“It’s not the National Assembly that’s on fire. What’s coming up there is an extractor pulling all the smoke out of the National Assembly,” she said, according to local media outlet News 24.

She added that the flames had been mostly brought under control and that CCTV footage was being reviewed to determine what caused the incident.

News24 reported that 36 firefighters were initially sent to the scene and authorities later called for additional resources as they tried to contain the blaze.

Firemen spray water on flames erupting from the South Africa’s Parliament building [Jerome Delay/AP Photo]

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