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South Africa’s Parliament Building “Severely Damaged” After Massive Fire

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

One day after Desmond Tutu, the retired Archbishop of Cape Town who rose to prominence as the first black leader of the Anglican Church in South Africa to become a leader in the anti-apartheid struggle, was laid to rest, a massive fire ripped through the Houses of Parliament on Sunday. 

Fire erupted at the South African Parliament building in Cape Town on Sunday morning, sending plumes of smoke into the air visible across the capital.

Video from the scene showed flames shooting out of the building. Firefighters arrived on the scene, and it was reported that the fire was still not under control by afternoon. There have been no reports of injuries or fatalities.

“The entire parliamentary complex is severely damaged, waterlogged and smoke damaged,” JP Smith, a Cape Town mayoral committee member responsible for safety and security, said. 

“The second point of fire is the National Assembly building, which is gutted,” Smith said, referring to the building where the Parliament meets. “The structural ceiling has collapsed. The fire staff had to be momentarily withdrawn.”

Investigators are still not sure what caused the blaze.

“They will have to determine how the fire spread from the one blaze to the second blaze,” Smith said, “because these are two very distinct areas.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived on the scene to inspect the damage on Sunday afternoon. 

Parliamentary officials are not aware if the fire destroyed government documents. However, “offices belonging to lawmakers in the African National Congress as well as in two smaller opposition parties — the Good Party and the National Freedom Party — were among those badly damaged,“ NYTimes said. 

This is a tragic way to start the New Year considering the country is still vulnerable to political and social unrest and COVID-19 outbreaks. 


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