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The fire in parliament in Cape Town earlier this week. Picture: MOLOTO MOTHAPO VIA TWITTER
The fire in parliament in Cape Town earlier this week. Picture: MOLOTO MOTHAPO VIA TWITTER

Hawks investigators are due to start work assessing the circumstances around the fire that gutted the National Assembly building now that the blaze has been contained.

More than 300 firefighters were deployed during the three-day battle against the blaze, National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chair Amos Masondo said on Thursday.

The firefighters remained on site until Wednesday evening, monitoring the situation and combing the inside of the building for potential flare-ups. The presiding officers commended the team for their “unspeakable courage and bravery”.

The Hawks investigators will access the building once they receive confirmation that it is safe to do so from the team of structural and electrical engineers and forensic experts.

One suspect, Zandile Christmas Mafe, has been arrested in connection with the blaze and faces charges including arson and theft. He will reappear in court on January 11.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said parliament's mace, which signifies the authority and sitting of the National Assembly, was retrieved intact from the ashes. 

The new mace was created in 2004 to represent the democratic dispensation, replacing the previous colonial and apartheid-era versions, he said.

Parliament’s presiding officers will on Thursday afternoon examine potential alternative venues for the state of the nation address (Sona) to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on February 10.

Options include the municipal chambers, Cape Town International Convention Centre and the city hall. 

TimesLIVE

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