Wednesday, January 19

President of fire in South African Parliament: – A terrible incident

The National Assembly in South Africa continued to burn on Sunday despite allegations that the situation was under control. The roof of at least one building has collapsed.

Open flames on the roof of the South African National Assembly.

More than six hours after the fire broke out, it had not yet been extinguished. The authorities did not have an overview of the extensive material damage.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the site and described the fire as a horrible incident.

– We must be grateful that it did not burn to the ground, the president said, according to the online newspaper News24.

He said a person has been arrested and will be questioned. At the same time, the authorities warn against speculation that the National Assembly was set on fire.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa outside the National Assembly in Cape Town while the fire continued on Sunday.


The oldest of the National Assembly’s buildings is from 1884, and it must have been here that the fire started early Sunday morning.

Firefighters rushed to the scene in six minutes, according to Ramaphosa. 35 people took part in the extinguishing work, and after a few hours the minister Patricia de Lille claimed that the fire was under control.

It turned out not to vote. Instead, the flames spread to a newer building with the hall of the South African lower house.

– This is a very sad day for our democracy. For the parliament is the home of democracy, said De Lille.

Fire crews in progress with the extinguishing work.

– The roof has collapsed

Another 70 firefighters were sent to the National Assembly, but they also failed to extinguish the flames.

JP Smith, city councilor responsible for security, states that the damage to the oldest building is extensive.

– The roof has collapsed and is gone, he says.

Also in the hall of the lower house in the newer building there is major damage to the roof. The entire parliamentary complex has been badly damaged by smoke and water.

The oldest building has a collection of rare books and the original manuscript of the South African national anthem. It is not known how these items went.

Desmond Tutu buried

So far there have been no reports of injuries in the fire. As a result of the New Year celebrations, the National Assembly was closed.

The oldest parliament building is today used by the National Council of Provinces, the South African upper house. The National Assembly is located near the cathedral where Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu was buried on Saturday.

The urn with the ashes of the pro-democracy activist was placed in the cathedral on Sunday during a ceremony for the family – at the same time as the National Assembly was on fire.

Last year, the University of Cape Town was hit by a major fire, and important collections of documents were lost when the flames spread to the university library.

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