parliament fire

Photo: City of Cape Town

WRAP: Parliament fire Day 2 – As it happened

Firefighters brought the parliament fire under control around midnight and worked their way through the building to locate hotspots.

parliament fire

Photo: City of Cape Town

The parliament fire, which broke out on Sunday, 2 January, was thought to be under control as of Monday morning at approximately 8:00. At about 16:30, the fire resurged and was later whipped up by the notorious southeasterly wind in Cape Town.


10:45 – Cape Town Fire Chief Ian Schnetler and Divisional Commander Simon Abrahams provided an update on the situation at Parliament on Tuesday morning, 4 January. The Chief indicated that the entire National Assembly has been gutted by fire but the Old Assembly chamber may still be intact.


Parliament, Tuesday, 4 January 2022 – Parliament confirms that the fire flare up that engulfed the roof of the National Assembly Building in the afternoon yesterday has now been contained.

 The fight against the fire continued into midnight following yesterday afternoon’s re-emergence of the fire which was propelled by solid south-easterly winds and necessitated the deployment of heavy-duty aerial fire-fighting appliances to reinforce the existing capacity.

 The firefighters applied a courageous and brave fighting spirit in their fight for hours last night and were able to put down the fire by midnight.

 Reduction in the speed with which the wind blew assisted a great deal and placed the firefighters at an advantageous position to extinguish the fire.

 Consequently, there has been the withdrawal of the reinforcement, with only six of the ten fire trucks now remaining on the scene. It is hoped that further trucks will be withdrawn during the course of the morning. The firefighters remain on-site for inspections of the various parts of the building.

 Further damage has been caused, with more floors of the building, which houses offices of Members of Parliament and support staff, being completely gutted. The roof of the Building around where the flare-up occurred is now completely destroyed.

 With the fire now contained, it is anticipated that the work by the multidisciplinary team of engineers, which arrived at Parliament yesterday to conduct an assessment and establish the scale of the damage – amongst others, will proceed.

 The Presiding Officers of Parliament have commended the team of firefighters for the incredible work they put for days, even under risky situations, to contain the fire.

 Further updates will be provided this morning.


7:30 – The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Cluster said the fire was brought under control around 00:00 and firefighters focused on working their way through the “maze-like building” – going room by room looking for hotspots.

“This is a lengthy process, as some rooms need to have their interior wooden cladding pulled apart in order to identify any concealed hotspots,” said the City.

All the roads surrounding Parliament have been reopened.

Parliament spokesperson  Molotho Mothapo confirmed that further damages were caused to several floors in the National Assembly Building.

22:06 – JP Smith said the fourth and fifth floors of the new wing above of the parliamentary precinct above the National Assembly have been “completely gutted” by the fire.

The City’s MayCo Member for Safety said the wind was blowing the flames towards the palm trees in the adjacent Company Gardens approximately 10 metres from Tuynhuys. The fire crews are working on dampening the vegetation between both buildings.

“Heavy-duty, aerial firefighting appliances have just arrived, that can operate within the current strong winds,” said Smith.

Video: CoCT
parliament fire
Photo: CoCT
parliament fire
Photo: CoCT
parliament fire
Photo: CoCT

22:00 – WATCH: Jermaine Carelse provides an update on firefighting operations at Parliament.

Video: City of Cape Town

20:25 – Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said firefighters are still battling the blaze.

Parliament shared drone footage – captured by the Cape Town Metro EMS – of the flare-up earlier on Monday.

19:00 – The Presiding Officers of Parliament issued a statement on the distressing flare-up of flames on the roof of the national assembly.

“The almost two-day brave and courageous battle by firefighters against the flames that gutted various buildings of Parliament suffered a setback when flames suddenly flared up from the roof of the Building this afternoon.

“Firefighters at the scene have been reinforced following the sudden re-emergence of the raging fire.”

According to Parliament, the resurgence of the fire follows earlier information from firefighters about the risky high-temperature levels at the gutted buildings.

18:12 – “Current situation is that the wind has been getting steadily stronger and ignited the smouldering wood inside the roof void space, parts of which are not accessible for dousing or dampening,” said JP Smith, the City of Cape Town MayCo Member for Safety and Security.

Smith said the City’s firefighting strategy is to contain the current fire above the fourth and fifth floor of the National Assembly.

There are now eight pumps on the scene, along with a single Bronto. Firefighting efforts are taking place inside the building and from above via the Bronto.

Photo: City of Cape Town.

17:15 – The following roads near the scene are closed while emergency services attend to the Parliament fire:

  • Bureau and Adderley
  • Roeland and Hope Street
  • Plein Street between Spin and St John’s
  • Roeland Street closed from Buitenkant towards Parliament
  • St John’s closed at Vrede

17:00 – The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse confirmed that the fire at parliament has flared up.

Carelse said the void beneath the roof sheeting of the National Assembly is on fire and about 34 firefighters are embroiled in active duty.

“Currently there are six firefighting appliances on scene, as well as the hydraulic platform from Roeland Street Fire Station,” said Carelse.

 16:55 – Parliament spokesperson Molotho Mothapo described the fresh fire as “devastating” and “inexplicable.”

He said firefighter reinforcements are being dispatched to tackle the blaze at the National Assembly Building.

Photo: Molotho Mothapo / Twitter

Earlier on Monday, at approximately, 16:30, residents took to social media to report their sightings of smoke billowing from the roof of the National Assembly.

This is a developing story.