Parliament’s presiding officers have urged all relevant authorities to “leave no stone unturned”, in establishing the cause of the fire that devastated the Parliamentary Precinct.
In a statement released on Sunday, Parliament confirmed the breakout of a fire. The cause has not yet been established but investigations are under way to determine what started the blaze.
The fire damaged the Old Assembly and the National Assembly wings of the buildings of Parliament, which house the chambers of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The fire has been contained in the old wing, but firefighters are still trying to control the fire in the new wing, where the fire has damaged the National Assembly Chamber.
“National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo have expressed their appreciation to the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services for their prompt reaction, and their efforts thus far to contain the fire and limit the damage as much as possible,” according to a statement issued by Parliament.
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa, the SAPS and Parliament’s security personnel are in the Parliamentary Precinct were assessing the situation at the time of publication.
De Lille has given a preliminary report on the fire, saying the cause is being investigated and the situation is “under control”.
“We have the situation under control for now, and we will be continuing with the investigation as to the cause of the fire. 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, as Parliament is the home of our democracy,” she said.
The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services received the call at 6.12am of a building alight in Parliament Avenue.
No injuries were reported.