Parliament fire 'contained', building to be handed to police soon
The fire at parliament has been contained after the flare-up in the roof of the National Assembly on Monday.
“The last 24 hours had been critical with firefighters closely monitoring the scene,” parliament said on Wednesday.
“After the firefighters contained the fire at midnight yesterday they remained on site, though at reduced capacity, for monitoring the situation, to conduct a thorough assessment and to establish the extent of the damage.”
Since the fire broke out on Sunday morning, 300 firefighters working shifts and more than 60 fire engines attended the blaze. One fire engine remained at the scene with five crew members working to ensure no more flare-ups.
Parliament said the firefighters would make an assessment on Wednesday afternoon for a possible total withdrawal from the site and to check whether the building is safe to be handed over to police.
Parliament's presiding officers Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Amos Masondo applauded the firefighters who brought the blaze under control.
Efforts to save the National Assembly mace were successful on Tuesday after two days of fire.
“It has been retrieved from its safe storage without any damage. The mace is an important symbol that signifies the authority and sitting of the National Assembly. It is carried into the chamber by the serjeant-at-arms and announces the arrival of the speaker of the National Assembly.”
The presiding officers said the state of the nation address, the budget speech and other programmes would proceed as planned. Further details would follow.
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