About 70 firefighters struggled to contain the blaze that broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The huge fire that destroyed parts of South Africa’s parliament in Cape Town was brought under control after about 70 firefighters struggled to keep the fire under control, which broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“The fire was brought under control during the night,” spokeswoman Jermaine Carelse said Monday, adding that flames had yet to be extinguished in the oldest part of the building.
Police said a 49-year-old suspect, who was in parliament, has been arrested and will appear in court this week.
A man has been arrested in parliament, he is still being questioned. We’ve opened a criminal case. He was arrested and will appear in court on Tuesday, “said police spokesperson Thandi Mbambo.
He is suspected of tampering with the sprinklers, which could not be activated.
The fire broke out in the parliament wing’s oldest wing, which was completed in 1884 and has rooms with wooden panels. After the older wing of the building was destroyed, the flames spread to the newer parts of the complex that are currently in use.
As the day dawned, thick plumes of black smoke could be seen enveloping the imposing Victorian facade.
Videos shared on social media show giant flames leaping from the roof.
Officials said the entire section housing the National Assembly had been destroyed.
“The whole room where the members are sitting has burned down,” said Moloto Mothapo, parliamentary spokesperson, adding that the fire apparently started in two separate areas of the complex.
President @CyrilRamaphosa accompanied by Minister @MondliGungubele, Minister @PatriciaDeLille, Deputy Minister @ZiziKodwa, and Premier @AlanWinde while inspecting the damage to the Parliament buildings in Cape Town. pic.twitter.com/ktREgnBhrL
– Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) 2 January 2022
The roof of the Old Assembly Building and parts of the ceiling at the New Assembly Building collapsed.
Jean-Pierre Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, told reporters the whole complex had suffered major water and fire damage and “nothing” was left of the historic part where parliament had kept treasures, including some 4,000 heritage sites. – and works of art. some date from the 17th century.
The parliament building houses a collection of rare books and the original copy of the former Afrikaans national anthem Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (The Voice of South Africa), which has already been damaged.