search

Fire breaks out at South African parliament building in Cape Town

City’s emergency services say ‘the roof has caught fire’ and flames are also spreading at the National Assembly building, with ‘cracks in the walls’ reported

Smoke billows from the roof of a building at the South African Parliament precinct in Cape Town on January 2, 2022, during a fire incident. (Marco Longari / AFP)
Smoke billows from the roof of a building at the South African Parliament precinct in Cape Town on January 2, 2022, during a fire incident. (Marco Longari / AFP)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — A major fire broke out in the South African parliament building in Cape Town on Sunday, said AFP reporters at the scene.

Firefighters were present at the building as large flames and a huge column of smoke were seen at around 0530 GMT.

The fire was believed to have started in one of the older buildings in the parliament precinct, leading to a security cordon nearby the cathedral where anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu was buried just hours before.

“The roof has caught fire and the National Assembly building is also on fire,” a spokesman for the city’s emergency services told AFP, requesting reinforcements at the scene.

“The fire is not under control and cracks in the walls of the building have been reported,” he added.

Images seen on social media — and not verified by AFP — showed a mass of flames licking through what appeared to be the roof of one of the parliament buildings.

A general view of a building on fire at the South African Parliament precinct in Cape Town on January 2, 2022. (Obed Zilwa / AFP)

No one was believed to have been harmed and the cause of the blaze was not yet known.

Emergency services said that the “fire is currently on the third floor — initial reports indicate it started in the office space and is spreading toward the gymnasium.”

Firefighter reinforcements arrived at the scene, using a crane to spray water on the flames.

Emergency services feared the fire could spread swiftly through the old rooms, which are decorated with thick carpets and curtains.

The area around the fire in the upmarket neighborhood was quickly cordoned off.

The Houses of Parliament in Cape Town consist of three sections, including the original and oldest building that was completed in 1884.

The newer additions — constructed in the 1920s and 1980s — house the National Assembly.

In April last year, a fire ravaged part of The University of Cape Town’s library housing a unique collection of African archives.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed