A massive fire broke out in the South African Parliament building in Cape Town on Sunday morning. The cause is still unknown, and no injuries have been reported.
A spokesman for the city’s emergency services, calling for reinforcements, said, “The ceiling caught fire, and the National Assembly building was also on fire.” The fire is now partially under control. Smoke can be seen from miles away.
Later, the current Minister of Infrastructure and former Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille immediately announced that the fire broke out in the old Parliament building and that the building in which Parliament currently sits is safe. She said emergency services were “in control of the situation”. De Lille said there were no reports of injuries so far. According to the American news channel CNN, part of the roof collapsed and the hall in which the lower house was located was destroyed.
The fire broke out in the old building around 5 a.m. local time (4 p.m. in Belgium). It is where then-President Frederic Willem de Klerk announced the end of apartheid in 1990.
The fire is believed to have broken out in the offices downstairs. Although the cause of the fire is still unknown, someone has been arrested, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa. This person is currently being questioned.
Cape Town was already hit by a serious fire in April. A fire at Table Mountain loomed over the city and destroyed the prestigious University of Cape Town’s library at its foot.