South African parliament building fire partly contained

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

South Africa’s parliament in the legislative capital Cape Town on Sunday confirmed a fire on its precinct and said it has been partly contained.

The fire, which the city initially said was reported to the Fire and Rescue Services on 5:03am but later corrected the time to 6:12am, has affected both the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly Wing of the buildings of the parliament, which house the lower chamber of National Assembly and the upper chamber of National Council of Provinces, the parliament said in a statement.

The fire has been contained in the old wing and firefighters are currently trying to control the fire in the new wing, where the fire has affected the National Assembly chamber, it said, adding that no person has been injured.

The cause of the fire has not been established and investigations are underway by the relevant authorities, it said.

The National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure led by Minister Patricia De Lille, the Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa, the South African Police Services and security personnel of Parliament are in the parliamentary precinct to assess the situation.

Jean-Pierre (JP) Smith, Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, had said the city’s Fire and Rescue Services first received a call of a building alight in Parliament Street, which is within the precinct of the parliament, and arrived at the scene about minutes later.

Jean-Pierre (JP) Smith in a fire update said the fire gutted the 3rd floor of the old wing, including the office space and the gym, and its roof collapsed and has gone.

“The structural ceiling of the National Assembly Wing collapsed,” he said.

About 70 fire staff members are on the scene, according to him.

Initial reports indicated the fire started in an office space, he said.

About 36 firefighters from different firefighting crews are on the scene and they requested more resources to contain the fire, according to him.

The parliament complex has century-old buildings.