Man Charged With Arson Over Blaze At South Africa Parliament 

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jan 04, 2022 - 07:45 AM

South African police said a man has been arrested and charged with arson for starting a fire on Sunday that severely damaged the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, according to BBC News.

A 49yo old suspect was arrested by an investigative police unit known as Hawks. The suspect will appear in court on Tuesday and face arson, housebreaking, and theft charges. 

Hawks spokesperson Brig Nomthandazo Mbambo told local news eNCA television that the suspect "gained entrance through the window in one of the offices." There are ongoing investigations into how the suspect entered the parliamentary complex and bypassed security. 

"There is a possibility of other charges being added as there was a security breach here," Mbambo said.

Jean-Pierre Smith, a Cape Town mayoral committee member responsible for safety and security, said private security and police were not paid overtime and were off duty at the time of the incident. 

Much of the damage resides in the New Assembly Wing of the building, which includes the National Assembly chamber where lawmakers sit. 

Besides no guards, the building's fire sprinkler system malfunctioned during the time of the incident. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the burning of parliament's lower house was a "terrible and devastating event." 

Smith said firefighters continued to fight the blaze on Monday. He said there were still "hotspots" and areas in the building still smoldering. 

The fire came one day after Archbishop Desmond Tutu was laid to rest at St George's Cathedral, a stone's throw from parliament.