Reconstruction on fire-gutted South African parliament starts

More than a year after a fire destroyed much of the parliament building in Cape Town, reconstruction work has started – and is set to be completed by 2025.

The fire took hold of the building in January 2022 and burnt for three days before firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze. The lower house National Assembly chamber was completely gutted as a result.

A male suspect remains in prison awaiting trial, who allegedly started the fire with boxes, paper and petrol.

The estimated cost of the reconstruction project is 2 billion rand (US$110m), and will be lead by the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Secretary to Parliament Xolile George, said: “The restoration project provides a unique opportunity to ensure that spaces are designed in a manner that best suits the specific needs of a democratic parliament and to modernise the institution’s digital infrastructure.”

The short-term goal of the project is to build around 155 new offices, in order to house the 1,000_ staff members who were displaced by the fire. Currently and temporarily, large legislative set piece events are being held in Cape Town’s city hall.

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