Cape Town – Public Works Minister, Patricia De Lille has given a preliminary report on the fire that broke out at the Parliament precinct, saying the cause of the fire is being investigated and the situation is ’under control’.
“We have the situation under control for now and will be continuing with the investigation as to the cause of the fire. For now, we have contained the fire in the chambers of the National Council of Provinces,“ said De Lille.
“The fire is currently in the National Assembly chambers. This is a very sad day for democracy for Parliament is the home of our democracy.”
She thanked the ‘excellent, professional’ fire teams at work.
Commenting on the smoke billowing out of the National Assembly, De Lille said that was primarily due to the extractor fan pulling the smoke from the National Council of Provinces out into the open.
The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services received the call at 06:12 of a building alight in Parliament Avenue.
The City of Cape Town has currently have 6 firefighting appliances and approximately 36 firefighters on scene, with two Fire Safety Officers are on scene.
Roeland Street, Sea Point, Salt River, Brooklyn, Goodwood and Milnerton firefighting crews on scene.
The fire is currently on the third floor. Initial reports indicate it started in the office space and is spreading toward the gymnasium.
The roof area has caught alight and the National Assembly building is on fire too.
There are also a number of road closures relating to the fire.
There are road closures at Plein Street at Roeland as well as Commercial and Barrack.
Roeland is closed at Hope Street, St. John’s Street closed at Vrede Str. and Commercial closed at Buitenkant Street.
The Fire and Rescue Services have confirmed that they were on scene at Parliament 6 minutes after the call was received and that they were already on scene when the fire detection alarms at Parliament activate it for the first time.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that a person has been taken in for questioning in connection with the fire at Parliament on Sunday.
Addressing the media outside the National Assembly on Sunday afternoon, the president said:
I believe someone is being held and is being questioned.
President Ramaphosa praised firefighters and government officials for acting speedily.
He said: “We should be grateful that the National Assembly has not been razed to the floor. Our officials have really acted with great capability and speed.”
Firefighters are battling to contain the blaze at Parliament in Cape Town.
The fire broke out on Sunday morning.
Authorities were alerted to the blaze at 5:03am which is believed to have started in the Old Assembly building. A fire broke out in the same building in March 2021.