Parliament fire displaces South African nation state to relief site

No casualties were reported in the blaze, but extensive damage shook the country. (To file)

Johannesburg:

South Africa‘s President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the annual State of the Nation address from another location in Cape Town next month after a fire destroyed the city’s National Assembly building, Parliament said on Friday .

City Hall, which will host the annual executive, legislature and judiciary event on February 10, was where Nelson Mandela addressed the crowds following his release from prison in 1990.

The flagship political rally has traditionally been held in the National Assembly Hall, but a fire that broke out at the Cape Town-based complex on Sunday severely damaged the building, rendering it unusable.

“The considerable damage has forced the institution to find another place off-site to host this important event on the parliamentary calendar and the country,” the parliament said in a statement.

He said Cape Town City Hall provided the infrastructure and capacity to host the flagship event.

“It is also a place worthy of the name given its historical significance which is ingrained in the minds and hearts of South Africans,” he said.

When Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, addressed the nation and crowds in euphoria after more than 27 years in prison, Ramaphosa stood by his side, holding the microphone.

President Ramaphosa, who was 37 when Mandela was released, “will address the nation from City Hall 32 years after this historic occasion in 1990,” Parliament said in the statement.

It took more than 70 hours to extinguish the fire that ravaged the wood-paneled meeting room where parliamentary debates are being held.

No casualties were reported in the blaze, but extensive damage shook the country.

A 49-year-old man, Zandile Christmas Mafe, appeared briefly in court on Tuesday on charges of breaking into Parliament, arson and intent to steal property, including laptops and documents. He is due back in court next week.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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