Man Held Over South Africa’s Parliament Blaze Due In Court Tuesday

A fire burns in South Africa’s parliament complex in Cape Town on January 2, 2022. (Photo/Associated Press)


A man arrested in connection with a fire that burned down South Africa’s National Assembly in Cape Town where elected lawmakers sit will appear in court on Tuesday, police have said.

“A man has been arrested inside the parliament, he’s still being interrogated. We have opened a criminal case. He has been arrested and will appear in court on Tuesday,” police spokeswoman Thandi Mbambo said on Sunday.

The blaze started at around 03:00 GMT on Sunday in the parliament complex’s oldest wing, which was completed in 1884 and has wood-panelled rooms, before spreading to newer parts of the complex which are currently in use.


The historic building houses a collection of rare books and the original copy of the former Afrikaans national anthem used during the apartheid era, “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika” (“The Voice of South Africa”), which was already damaged.

Firefighters battled the flames for several hours before being forced to retreat and call for reinforcements.

Around 70 firefighters were later deployed, some using a crane to spray water on the blaze.

Inside the rooms, fine showers of grey ash fell from the ceiling to the floor, which was already littered with debris.

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

Images broadcast on television had earlier shown giant flames leaping from the roof.

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


Written by PH

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