Parliament says it is good news that the fire that gutted the National Assembly Building has now been contained completely. But the roof has the Assembly has been destroyed completely. Mopping up operations are now under way. The fire was stopped around midnight after it re-ignited yesterday afternoon.
Some firefighters deployed to the Parliamentary precinct have started to leave after working their way through the building attempting to locate hotspots.
The first fire broke out on Sunday and caused extensive damage.
City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse, say they were able to bring the fire under control just after midnight but have remained at the scene to assess the damage to the building.
Carelse says floors four and five of the National Assembly, have been completely gutted following the second flare-up yesterday.
Parliament fire | View from the Old Assembly Chamber: Mercedes Besent
This morning, the provincial commissioner of police was briefed by some of the firefighters.
It has been said that one of the reasons that the fire was still raging was because the top structure is wooden.
A lot of activity is expected around the parliamentary precinct on Tuesday.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader John Steenhuisen is set to brief the media ahead of the expected release of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture report.
Parliament fire brought under control | Lulama Matya reports:
Suspect charged with arson
Police have charged a 49-year-old man with arson and other offences including theft, and he is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the arson, if confirmed, would represent an attack on the country’s democracy.
Parliament has played a crucial role in South Africa’s transition from white minority rule as the place where transformative legislation has been passed, helping roll back repressive policies implemented under the apartheid era.
In a separate statement, the Hawks said the suspect was believed to have gained entry to the parliament through a window in one of the offices.
“Preliminary investigations reveal that the person could have gained entrance through the back window in one of the offices in parliament. In terms of the security breaches, that is part of the investigation as to how did he manage to invade the security and gain entry into the building. Tomorrow, he will appear in court and we are also hoping that either today or tomorrow we will be able to gain entry to the building because it was not yet declared safe and then the forensic team has not been able to resume with their investigation,” says Hawks Spokesperson Nomthandazo Mbambo.
Parliament Spokerson Moloto Mothapo provides more details on the second flare-up: