South Africa News

Parliament fire suspect to appear in court

A man will appear in court on Tuesday in connection with the fire that engulfed Parliament on Sunday.

The 49-year-old was arrested and charged with housebreaking, theft, and arson.

He will also be charged under The National Key Point Act.

Police say he was caught with suspected stolen property after gaining entry to the parliamentary precinct.

The matter has been referred to the Hawks’ Crimes Against the State team for further investigation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was at the scene and has commended the Fire emergency services for their swift response.

Meanwhile, according to the Head of Architecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Lawrence Ogunsanya, Parliament can arise out of the ashes. He says although it’s not an easy task, it is possible.


It took fire crews at least 5 minutes to respond to the fire after receiving a call shortly after 6am on Sunday.

When firefighters arrived, the sprinkler system had not been triggered.

Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille said that according to a report that she received, a fire drill was conducted shortly before Parliament closed late last year, which was a standard maintenance process to test whether the sprinklers were in working order.

“They did the drill and everything was in order. What was discovered was that somebody has closed off one of the valves and so there was no water. So we are getting in information piece by piece,” Minister De Lille said.

When asked about more clarity about the suspect, De Lille said there was no place for speculation and that the law must now take it course as the Hawks handled the investigation.

“What is only sad is that Parliament is the House of our democracy where our elected members of Parliament come together to hold the executive to account and as the president has said, the work of Parliament will go on,” De Lille said.

This year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) has been scheduled for 10 February and National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula said that they were determined to ensure that Sona goes ahead despite this major setback.


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