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Johannesburg - The ANC has increased security at Chief Albert Luthuli House following an explosion in the building’s reception area.
“Security measures have been taken, but I cannot go into what has been done,” said ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
The explosion, which set a couch on fire, happened at about 6pm on Tuesday.
The flames were so high they reached the ceiling, according to Mthembu. ANC members were forced to evacuate the 11-storey building in Sauer Street, opposite The Star’s offices.
Mthembu said on Tuesday evening that if it hadn’t been for the quick actions of security guards, there could have been loss of life. The guards in the lobby quickly put out the blaze with extinguishers.
Close to the couch, security personnel found the shards of a ginger-beer bottle, which Mthembu believed contained the explosive device. He added there was a chemical smell in the reception area and white smoke had permeated the floors above.
“Everything is back to normal. We have been clearing the reception for the better part of the day. We are now just minus a couch.”
In a statement issued shortly after the incident, the ANC said it appeared to be an attempt to destabilise the party.
“Whoever did this did it with malicious intentions,” Mthembu said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, SAPS explosives experts and forensic technicians swept the building, looking for other devices. They also took away evidence, which the police said would be examined in their labs.
On Wednesday, the police said the arson investigation was continuing and that no arrests had been made.