Fire ravages Cape Town seat of South Africa’s Parliament

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Firefighters battled a major blaze at South Africa’s Parliament complex on Sunday that sent a dark plume of smoke and flames into the air above the center of Cape Town and caused some ceilings of the building that houses the national legislature to collapse.

The fire started on the third floor of an old building that houses offices and spread to the National Assembly building, where South Africa’s Parliament now sits, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille said.

“The fire is currently in the National Assembly chambers,” De Lille told reporters at the scene. “This is a very sad day for democracy for Parliament is the home of our democracy.”

City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse said no injuries were reported. Parliament was closed for the holidays.

Security guards first reported the fire at around 6 a.m., Carelse said, and 35 firefighters were on the

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