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WATCH: Firefighters return as Parliament fire flares up

Parliamentary presiding officers said that they were devastated and deeply saddened by the impact of the blaze. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliamentary presiding officers said that they were devastated and deeply saddened by the impact of the blaze. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 3, 2022

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Cape Town - More firefighters were called to the scene on Monday afternoon when the fire at Parliament flared up.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said that firefighters were on the scene trying to contain the flare-up.

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“The Fire and Rescue Service confirms that the fire at Parliament has flared up. The void beneath the roof sheeting of the National Assembly is on fire.

“Currently there are six firefighting appliances on scene, as well as the hydraulic platform from Roeland Street Fire Station.

“Approximately 34 firefighters are busy with active firefighting,” Carelse said.

This comes after Fire and Rescue Services were scaled down and firefighters were busy attending to hot spots on the fourth floor of the National Assembly.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith added: “The current situation is that the wind has been getting steadily stronger and ignited the smouldering wood inside the roof void space, parts of which are not accessible for dousing or dampening.

“The strategy is to contain to current fire area above fourth and fifth floor.”

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Parliament's presiding officers said that they were devastated and deeply saddened by the impact of the blaze.

“The presiding officers have noted with distress yet another flare-up of flames on the roof of the National Assembly building in Cape Town.

“The almost two-day brave and courageous battle by firefighters against the flames that gutted various buildings of Parliament suffered a set-back when flames suddenly flared up from the roof of the building this afternoon,” they said.

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In a statement earlier on Monday, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo said: “We are pained by the damage of the Old Assembly chamber and building, the National Assembly chamber, and critical offices of Parliament – which are a national key point and the legislative seat of our country, whose value is beyond any measure.

“This democratic institution has a deep history which represents unparalleled heritage treasures for our country and a source of social unity and cohesion required in our nation building programme,” they said.

“We can confirm that one of the biggest losses the people of South Africa have suffered in this fire, is the complete burning down of the National Assembly chamber, a seat of crucial plenary sittings of the National Assembly and joint sittings of the two houses – the NA and NCOP.

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“We wish to reiterate our gratitude to the responsive firefighting and rescue services of the City of Cape Town, the minister and the Department of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, and the police, as well as our officials.

“We are grateful to President Cyril Ramaphosa and a number of members of his executive, who have been hands on from the outset and provided necessary moral support to the firefighters,” they added.

“The multi-agency and multi-pronged investigations are under way, and will be in full swing once the whole building is declared safe and handed over to the investigation team.

“We wish to assure all the people in South Africa that we will leave no stone unturned to enable appropriate actions to be taken by all relevant authorities.”

Cape Argus

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