Tuesday, January 25

Miscellaneous facts. South Africa: Parliament fire resumes as firefighters leave

A historic building reduced to ashes

The fire started around 5am (3am GMT) on Sunday, in the oldest wing of the building, completed in 1884, in the old rooms covered with precious wood and adorned with rich fabrics. This historic part, which once housed parliamentarians, houses a bookstore and museum. Parliament houses some 4,000 works of art and heritage, some of which date back to the 17th century.

There, the roof was completely destroyed, leaving a gaping hole, but the invaluable collection of books and works of art seems to have been spared. The last building housing the upper house of Parliament, called the National Council of Provinces, is still inaccessible but the emergency services believe that the damage will be mainly related to the tons of water that have been spilled and the fumes. Here too, invaluable artefacts are preserved.

A government delegation met in the middle of the day with experts and engineers, to establish an initial inventory and assess the cost of repairs. But the operation was limited for security reasons and experts tried to obtain images with a drone, before being interrupted by the resumption of fire. A preliminary report is due on Friday.


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