Cape Town - A police sniffer dog was used to check out two cars illegally parked outside Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

The dark brown Rottweiler was led by its policeman handler around a blue VW Polo and a red Toyota Corolla, both parked outside the entrance to the Visitors' Centre at Parliament.

Police used a patrol car to block off the scene, and a journalist who approached to see what was happening was motioned away.

The dog showed no signs of having detected anything suspicious, and was later loaded into a Cape Town Dog Unit vehicle by its handler.

The VW was later driven off, apparently by its owner, but the Toyota remained, with a surprise for its driver - a large clamp attached to its front right wheel and a big red notice on the windscreen.

Streets around the parliamentary precinct have been blocked off for Thursday's opening and state-of-the-nation address.

Shortly before 4pm, the area was abuzz with police officials, on foot and whizzing up and down on scrambler motorcycles. - Sapa