Cape Town: Major blaze rips through South Africa parliament building


A large fire is raging at the Houses of Parliament in the South African city of Cape Town.

Video footage shows a plume of black smoke filling the sky, with huge flames coming out from the roof of the building.

Dozens of firefighters are at the site battling the blaze; it is not yet clear what caused the fire.

It comes hours after Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s state funeral at St George’s Cathedral, near Parliament.

Smoke rises from a burning building in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 January 2022, in this picture obtained from social media
Image caption, The smoke from the blaze could be seen from several miles away

The roof area had caught fire and the National Assembly building was on fire too, the city authorities initially said.

But Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille later said it was the Old Assembly that had caught light, and said that the fire was now mostly under control.

“Fire Service have the situation under control. It’s not the National Assembly that’s on fire. What’s coming up there is an extractor pulling all the smoke out of the National Assembly.”

Firefighters work among the smoke after a fire broke out in the Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 January 2022
Image caption, Dozens of firefighters are at the scene

The Houses of Parliament in Cape Town are made up of three sections, with the oldest dating back to 1884. The newer sections built in the 1920s and 1980s house the National Assembly.

Last year, a fire ravaged part of the University of Cape Town’s library, which was home to a unique collection of African archives.