Parliament buildings affected by fire will be handed over to police: De Lille

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Public Works and Infrastructure Development Minister Patricia de Lille says the buildings which have been gutted will be handed over to the police.

De Lille, who is meeting the National Assembly Speaker says they will address the media later.

“The latest is that the Speaker has arrived. At 9 o clock, I am having a meeting with all the officials. At 10 o clock, we are briefing the speaker. She is the executive authority of Parliament. Afterwards, we will brief the media about the latest update but I can assure you that the teams worked right through the night to begin to put the puzzle pieces together. The fire forensic team is also here at the monomer. Once the building has been stabilised, the building will be handed over to the SAPS because they see it as a crime scene,” says De Lille.

Meanwhile, the fire has been contained. It caused extensive damage to the National Assembly building, the Old Assembly Building, office space and the gymnasium. One person has been arrested in connection to the fire.

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Authorities are working on a preliminary report on what the cause of the fire may be.

African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip, Pemmy Majodina says the fire will not deter Parliament from doing its work.

“This situation is devastating. I just hope that it was not intentional to come and sabotage Parliament. It is quite painful and very emotional because we are sent here by the public to represent them. When they look at the walls of Parliament, they always have hope. I want to assure the public that the walls have human beings that are supposed to be inside those walls. All the human beings are still alive and we are going to do our work robustly,” says Majodina.

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Additional reporting: Lynne Arendse