Suspect arrested in reference to South African parliament fireplace

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A firefighter looks at the smoke rising after a fire broke out in the Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, January 2, 2022. — Elmond Jiyane/GCIS/Handout via Reuters
A firefighter seems on the smoke rising after a fireplace broke out within the Parliament in Cape City, South Africa, January 2, 2022. — Elmond Jiyane/GCIS/Handout by way of Reuters
  • Hearth in Nationwide Meeting constructing not contained.
  • Reason behind blaze unknown.
  • Man in his 50s arrested inside parliament.
  • Roof of the Outdated Meeting constructing has collapsed.
  • No accidents reported.

CAPE TOWN: A hearth on the South African parliament brought on in depth injury on Sunday, collapsing the roof and gutting a complete ground in a single constructing and a person in his 50s was arrested in reference to the blaze.

The hearth broke out within the early morning and authorities mentioned the sprinkler system appeared to have been tampered with and so didn’t work. By afternoon, firefighters have been nonetheless making an attempt to include the blaze in one of many a number of buildings that make up the parliament advanced within the legislative capital, Cape City.

An individual was arrested inside parliament, Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille instructed reporters, including that the case had been handed over to an elite police unit referred to as the Hawks.

“It is the function of the Hawks to analyze any assault on political establishments,” De Lille mentioned.

Parliament mentioned in a press release the suspect was a person in his 50s.

There have been no stories of any accidents.

The reason for the blaze was not but recognized however De Lille mentioned that in keeping with a report that she acquired, an ordinary upkeep fireplace drill had been performed simply earlier than parliament closed for the Christmas and New 12 months holidays and all the pieces together with the sprinklers was working.

“What was found this morning is that someone has closed one of many valves and so then there was no water to set off that computerized sprinkler system approaching,” De Lille mentioned, including that CCTV footage confirmed that someone was within the constructing from the early hours of the morning.

President Cyril Ramaphosa instructed reporters after visiting the positioning that parliament’s work would proceed regardless of the blaze. He additionally praised firefighters for saving a “essential nationwide asset of our authorities”.

Partly contained

The parliamentary advanced, a few of which dates again to 1884, consists of a cluster of buildings. The Nationwide Meeting, or decrease Home of Parliament, is located in what is named the New Wing.

The higher home, or Nationwide Council of Provinces (NCOP), is positioned in what is known as the Outdated Wing or Outdated Meeting, which can also be used for committee conferences.

“The hearth has been contained within the Outdated Wing. Firefighters are at present making an attempt to manage the hearth within the New Wing, the place the hearth has affected the Nationwide Meeting Chamber,” parliament mentioned in a press release.

Jean-Pierre Smith, a Cape City mayoral committee member liable for security and safety, mentioned the roof of the previous constructing had collapsed, and added the hearth had gutted the third ground of the constructing, together with workplace area and the gymnasium.

He additionally instructed reporters that the parliament’s fireplace alarm solely rang when firefighters have been already on web site.

By afternoon smoke had partially subsided after billowing for hours from the roof and entrance of the Nationwide Meeting. However Metropolis of Cape City fireplace providers chief Jermaine Carelse mentioned the hearth was nonetheless lively, and was now targeting the primary and third ground.

The hearth, which began simply earlier than 6am, was the second on the parliament in lower than a 12 months. In March there was a blaze attributable to {an electrical} fault.

“It’s egregious that such a factor occurred within the first place, there have to be no query about it. Whether or not it was a results of safety breaches, which can be obvious to some folks, we do not know,” Deputy Speaker of the Nationwide Meeting Lechesa Tsenoli mentioned.

Nationwide Meeting Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula instructed reporters that Ramaphosa’s state of the nation handle to a joint session of parliament would go forward as deliberate on Feb.10 however an alternate venue must be used.

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