Four days after a fire destroyed the main chamber of the country’s national legislature, firefighters left the South African Parliament building
Cape Town, South Africa – Authorities said on Thursday that firefighters had left the South African Parliament building and handed it over to the police four days after a fire destroyed the main chamber of the country’s national legislature.
A man suspected of causing Sunday’s fire was arrested and appeared in court for burglary, arson and violation of South Africa’s security laws restricting access to government buildings. The prosecutor said that the suspect also possessed an explosive device.
The authorities refused to speculate on the man’s possible motives and stated that it is too early to judge whether the fire was a deliberate attack on the seat of the South African democratic state. He was detained before the bail hearing.
The police did not rule out the possibility of arresting more people.
Early on Sunday morning, a fire broke out in the parliament district in the center of Cape Town, which destroyed the entire complex. It destroyed the main chamber of the National Assembly building where the South African Parliament is located and caused extensive damage to other buildings in the area, including an old parliament building built in the British colonial era in the late 1800s.
Firefighters controlled the fire, but it broke out again later on Monday and then again on Tuesday. The parliament said in a statement that they stayed at the scene until Wednesday night to ensure that there would not be another fire.
The council stated that a total of 300 firefighters worked for more than 71 hours to fully control the fire.
A South African police force dealing with serious or high-profile crimes has taken over the complex to investigate the cause of the fire.