Fire breaks out in South African parliament in Cape Town

A major fire broke out in the South African parliament building in Cape Town early on Sunday.

Firefighters were present at the building as large flames and a huge column of smoke were seen at around 7.30am local time.

“The roof has caught fire and the National Assembly building is also on fire,” a spokesperson for the city’s emergency services told AFP. “The fire is not under control and cracks in the walls of the building have been reported,” he added.

JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, told local media that the alarm had been raised at 5am and that the 36 firefighters on the scene had requested more resources to tackle the blaze.

The fire started in the third-floor offices and spread to the National Assembly chamber, City of Cape Town fire and rescue service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse told local media.

No people have been injured in the fire, which was reported by security guards, Carelse said.

Images showed a mass of flames licking through what appeared to be the roof of one of the parliament buildings.

There was no indication of what may have started the fire.

The houses of parliament in Cape Town consist of three sections. The original and oldest building was completed in 1884. The newer additions, constructed in the 1920s and 1980s, house the National Assembly.

In April last year, a fire ravaged part of the University of Cape Town’s library housing a unique collection of African archives

With Agence France-Presse

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