CAPE TOWN: ON Sunday morning, South Africans woke up to the news that Parliament was in flames.

And Parliament’s Presiding Officers have confirmed the breakout of a fire on the Parliamentary precinct.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is reported to have called this incident a “terrible and devastating event”.

Although the cause of the fire has not yet been established but investigations are underway by the relevant authorities.

The fire has affected both the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly Wing of the buildings of Parliament, which house the chambers of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

The fire was contained quite fast in the old wing.

By late morning Firefighters were still busy  trying to control the fire in the New Wing, where the fire has affected the National Assembly Chamber.

National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Amos Masondo, have expressed their appreciation to the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services for their prompt reaction and the work done thus far to contain the fire and limit the damage as much as possible.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, led by Minister Patricia De Lille, the Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa, the South African Police Services (SAPS) and security personnel of Parliament were in the Parliamentary Precinct assessing the situation.

No person was injured.

The Presiding Officers of Parliament are distressed by this incident and the extent of the damage caused thus far to the precincts of the seat of the national legislature.

They have urged all relevant authorities to leave no stone unturned in establishing the cause of the fire.

Police confirmed a 49-year-old man was taken in for questioning.

But shortly after this, Public Works minister De Lille, told the media that the man had been arrested and the case had been handed over to the Hawks.

He is due to appear in court on Tuesday.

The public is to be kept updated.

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Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

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