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“A country under siege” - Mzansi respond to mysterious fire at the Department of Justice in Cape Town

Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 7, 2022

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Cape Town - Cape Town authorities are on scene responding to yet another mysterious fire at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development offices in Cape Town on Friday morning.

It was reported that a wooden door was allegedly set alight at the precinct, which is only a few meters away from Parliament, which was also reportedly set alight on Sunday, December 2.

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TimesLive reported that the burnt wooden door “leads to the fire escape stairwell running along the side of the eight-storey building in Queen Victoria Street”.

Authorities are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire. No arrests have yet been made.

Some Twitter users have linked this event to the other recent fires and vandalism cases reported at other state institutions this week. One user responded to this latest fire saying, “a country under siege”.

Another user responded, “so the onslaught on our democracy continues”.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the City of Cape Town’s fire department issued a report on the fire that engulfed parts of parliament in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The report found that the National Assembly sprinklers were last serviced in 2017 and were due for service in 2020.

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Cape Town Fire department Station Commander JJ Williams said the valve appeared to have been closed.

“If properly serviced, this valve should have been locked with a chain in an open position, and a block plan would have been available showing system layout; the lifts continued to operate despite a ‘break glass’ unit at one lift being activated. Fire doors were locked in an open position using latches, and roof smoke vents did activate at the National Assembly.

“It is unclear if the fire alarm and detection system were operational. Cape Town Fire Service received no fire alarm from the old or new National Assembly buildings. An alarm was received after the firefighters were already on the scene from Tuynhuys adjacent to the assembly buildings,” he said.

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