South Africa parliament fire flares up againon January 3, 2022 at 5:04 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Firefighters are trying to douse the blaze which reignited hours after it was said to be under control.

Fire in parliament on Monday

Image source, AFP

A devastating fire that swept through South Africa’s Houses of Parliament in Cape Town has reignited – hours after it was said to be under control.

Flames have been billowing from the building’s roof. Firefighters are at the scene, trying to douse the blaze.

The fire first broke out on Sunday, totally destroying the National Assembly, or lower chamber.

Police have arrested a suspect who will appear in court on Tuesday on charges of arson, housebreaking and theft.

Authorities had warned that flare-ups would be possible because of carpets and wooden floors in the building.

“The void beneath the roof sheeting of the National Assembly is on fire,” city officials said.

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa called the fire a “terrible and devastating event”.

He said the building’s sprinkler system had not functioned properly, and praised firefighters for responding to the fire in minutes.

The parliament is not currently in session because of the holidays, and no-one was injured.

Government minister Patricia de Lille said Sunday’s fire had led to the “complete burning down” of the National Assembly chamber.

CCTV cameras were not being monitored at the time the fire started on Sunday, she said.

Other areas of the parliamentary complex – parts of which date back to 1884 – were also badly damaged.

Ms De Lille said it was still too hot for people to go inside the building to check the extent of the damage, but a drone was being used to “assess the structure of the building until the temperatures can cool down”.

The building is home to thousands of treasures including historic books, photographs and important works of art.

There is particular concern that the valuable Keiskamma Tapestry, which is 120m (394ft) long and documents South Africa’s history, may have been damaged or destroyed.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

The Houses of Parliament in Cape Town are made up of three sections, with the oldest dating back to 1884. The newer sections built in the 1920s and 1980s house the National Assembly. The government is based in Pretoria.

Mr Ramaphosa on Sunday spoke of his sadness at “this destruction of the home of our democracy”.

Parliament said “all efforts” would be made to limit any disruption to its work.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the city’s Council Chamber would be made available as an alternative place for parliament to meet.

It was the second fire at the parliament in under a year. In March there was a fire caused by an electrical fault.

Last year, a fire ravaged part of the University of Cape Town’s library, which was home to a unique collection of African archives.

Smoke rises from a burning building in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 January 2022, in this picture obtained from social media

Image source, Rowan Spazzoli/Reuters

- Advertisement -




Brexit: Sea border checks order suspended by High Courton February 4, 2022 at 12:13 pm

Inspections on goods entering NI from GB must continue pending the outcome of legal challenges.DUP Minister Edwin Poots' directions to halt Irish Sea border...

Using human hair to fight oil spillson July 3, 2022 at 11:29 pm

A hairdresser in Wales is collecting her customers' hair and turning it into something useful.A hairdresser in Wales is collecting her customers' hair and...

Covid: Living with Covid plan will return freedoms, says Boris Johnsonon February 21, 2022 at 4:06 am

Boris Johnson says the lifting of all curbs in England will "mark a moment of pride" for the country..Image source, Getty ImagesBoris Johnson says...

Euro 2022: Lionesses’ victory party in Trafalgar Squareon August 1, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Watch as England's celebrate their extra-time victory in front of fans in Trafalgar Square.Watch as England's celebrate their extra-time victory in front of fans...

Social Security recipients with kids won’t want to miss this stimulus-check deadline

Social Security recipients who have children but haven’t filed taxes recently need to submit their payment information to the feds by Wednesday in order...