A fire has destroyed a South African government building in Cape Town on Sunday. No causalities have been reported as the country’s national assembly has been “burned down” after sprinkler systems failed as a fire burned in two separate areas of the precinct.
A suspect, who is in his 50s, has been arrested in connection with the parliament fire and is expected to appear in court on Tuesday. According to local media, the fire is under control but continues to burn.
“The entire chamber where the members sit… has burned down,” parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo said, adding that the blaze had still not been extinguished and two fires had apparently been sparked in two separate areas of the precinct.
No casualties had been reported but President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters at the scene a man had been held and that sprinkler systems had apparently failed.
Later Sunday, police said a suspect was due in court.
“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. The historic 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 was already damaged.”