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Parliament fire mop-up operations and damage assessments begin

Firefighters had battled the blaze for just over 24 hours. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Firefighters had battled the blaze for just over 24 hours. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Published Jan 3, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - All firefighting services were withdrawn from Parliament on Monday afternoon as mop-up operations and damage assessments began.

Firefighters had battled the blaze for just over 24 hours after receiving a call at 6.04am on Sunday morning.

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Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said: "The fire staff have now withdrawn and it is now a matter for the criminal and crime scene investigators to determine what happened.”

A 49-year-old suspect is expected to make a court appearance on Tuesday in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court after he was arrested in connection with the fire.

He faces charges of arson, theft and housebreaking after he was charged under the National Key Points Act.

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Hawks spokesperson Philani Nkwalase said: "The suspect was allegedly caught with suspected stolen property after he gained entry to the parliamentary precinct in Cape Town unauthorised. He was spotted by members of the Protection and Security Services (PSS) when they noticed the building was on fire. The matter was referred to the Hawks' Crimes Against the State (CATS) team for further investigation. The motive for his actions is subject to investigation."

Earlier on Monday, presiding officers of Parliament inspected the damage, led by National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo and Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille.

Premier Alan Winde called for a thorough investigation into the matter.

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"The devastating fire on the parliamentary precinct is extremely upsetting. No stone must be left unturned in determining the cause of the fire, with the findings of a full investigation being made public so that this terrible incident is prevented in the future," said Winde.

Cape Times

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