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Late-night fire at parliament extinguished with no injuries reported

A fire at parliament’s old assembly building was successfully contained late on Tuesday night, with no injuries reported.

Just hours before, earlier on Tuesday evening, parliament was engaged in a heated debate, in which the majority of MPs voted in favour of establishing a parliamentary inquiry into public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

The City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue service spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse, confirmed that only security personnel were at parliament when the fire broke out. 

The fire originated in a single room, before spreading. 

Moloto Mothapo, the parliament spokesperson, says that “several upper floor offices and committee rooms” were affected by the fire. The affected areas were also flooded as a result of the fire sprinkler system that was triggered. The lower floor was flooded.

Moloto confirmed that the rest of the parliament building had not been affected, adding that an “investigation has been started to establish the cause of the fire and the extent of the damages caused to the parts of the old assembly building”.

Carelse says the city responded to the fire after receiving an emergency call just after 10.30pm on Tuesday. Fire crews from surrounding areas — Roeland Street, Salt River, Sea Point, Brooklyn and Milnerton — were dispatched to the scene.

“Upon arrival, it was discovered the fire was in the roof void, and crews managed to contain and extinguish the fire at 12.43am. Portable pumps were used to drain the water from the basement and ground floor,” Carelse says.

Parliament could not confirm whether the incident will affect any parliamentary proceedings for the rest of the week.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

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