Home LATEST NEWS The fire in the South African parliament finally brought under control

The fire in the South African parliament finally brought under control


Zandile Christmas Mafe, a 49-year-old man, dressed in a gray shirt and denim shorts, presented a closed face to the criminal court, which postponed the hearing to January 11, just to allow investigators to clarify certain elements of the investigation, when the premises will be accessible, and assess the cost of the damage, among other things.

The suspect will remain in jail pending this.

Arriving in the small courtroom, he took off his mask and circled around to present his face to cameras and photographers’ cameras, AFP journalists noted.

His lawyer, Me Luvuyo Godla, who defends him graciously, had time to say that his client denied any involvement and that he would plead not guilty. And the prosecution, she said she would oppose any parole.

The indictment, to which AFP had access, shows that the suspect is accused of breaking and entering the huge building in central Cape Town, of having set fire to the Parliament buildings and to have stolen laptops, dishes and documents.

A man takes off his mask in court.

Zandile Christmas Mafe is accused of breaking into parliament, setting it on fire and stealing various items.

Photo: Reuters / SUMAYA HISHAM

The wooded hall with leather armchairs, where the deputies sit and from where the president delivers his speech to the nation every year, has been completely destroyed, leaving the country dumbfounded.

In this most recent part of the vast edifice, composed of three buildings dating from different eras, the firefighters had to retreat on Sunday in the face of the intensity of the fire, before taming the flames during the night, revealing a black carcass. and soggy.

Meanwhile, the blaze had resumed Monday afternoon and firefighters struggled in the evening with strong winds in the port city, before master it just before midnight, local time, told AFP the spokesperson for the city’s firefighters, Jermaine Carelse.

Tuesday morning,h “,” text “:” just before 5h “}} ‘>just before 5 a.m., there was a small resumption of flames, but the firefighters managed to extinguish it, he added. At midday, four fire trucks remained at work, i.e. about twenty firefighters, to follow the evolution of the situation.

The fire started at dawn on Sunday in the oldest wing of the impressive building, the roof of which was completely destroyed. According to investigators, the fire broke out in two separate homes and the automatic extinguishing system did not work properly because the water was turned off.

Surveillance cameras showed Zandile Mafe was present in the building at around 2 a.m.h, when they looked at the screens, alerted by the smoke “,” text “:” But the security only saw it around 6h, when they looked at the screens, alerted by the smoke “} }”>But security didn’t see him until around 6 a.m., when they looked at the screens, alerted by the smoke., had specified to AFP the Minister of Public Works, Patricia De Lille.

The cameras worked. The problem is, no one controlled them on that fateful night. This too is part of the investigation. How did we not know earlier that there was someone in the building? There was certainly a breach in security.

A quote from Patricia De Lille, Minister of Public Works of South Africa

Cape Town has been the seat of Parliament since 1910, when the government was based in Pretoria.

The country of 59 million inhabitants has three capitals: administrative in Pretoria (north), legislative in Cape Town (southwest) and judicial in Bloemfontein (center). Johannesburg, the business center, is its largest metropolitan area.

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