A major fire broke out in the South African parliament building in Cape Town early on Sunday.
Firefighters were present at the building as large flames and a huge column of smoke were seen at around 7.30am local time.
“The roof has caught fire and the National Assembly building is also on fire,” a spokesperson for the city’s emergency services told AFP, requesting reinforcements at the scene. “The fire is not under control and cracks in the walls of the building have been reported,” he added.
JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, told local media that the alarm had been raised at 5am and that the 36 firefighters on the scene had requested more resources to tackle the blaze.
It is unclear if anybody is inside the building.
Images seen on social media, not verified by AFP, showed a mass of flames licking through what appeared to be the roof of one of the parliament buildings.
There was no indication of what may have started the fire.
The houses of parliament in Cape Town consist of three sections. The original and oldest building was completed in 1884. The newer additions, constructed in the 1920s and 1980s, house the National Assembly.
In April last year, a fire ravaged part of the University of Cape Town’s library housing a unique collection of African archives
With Agence France-Presse