A person was detained for questioning after a fire that broke out at South Africa’s Houses of Parliament in Cape Town early on January 2, gutting its Old Assembly building, President Cyril Ramaphosa told local media.
Ramaphosa expressed sadness that the fire occurred just one day after the funeral of anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and said the work of the National Assembly would continue despite the blaze.
Ramaphosa, referring to Tutu by a nickname, said “Arch would have been devastated” to see damage to a building that he “wanted to see as the repository of the democracy that he worked so hard for.”
Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille, speaking outside Parliament, said the cause of the fire was still being investigated.
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis described the fire as a “national tragedy” and offered the use of Council Chambers “so that the work of Parliament can continue.” Credit: Rosh Bardien via Storyful