South African Opposition Allege Cover-Up of Graft Probe Findings Behind Parliament Fire

© AP Photo / Leon KnipeA fire burns at the Houses of Parliament, in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. The country's minister of public works and infrastructure said Sunday's fire started on the third floor of a building that houses offices and spread to the National Assembly building, where South Africa's Parliament sits.
A fire burns at the Houses of Parliament, in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. The country's minister of public works and infrastructure said Sunday's fire started on the third floor of a building that houses offices and spread to the National Assembly building, where South Africa's Parliament sits. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.01.2022
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JOHANNESBURG (Sputnik) - A South African opposition leader has implicated the ruling African National Congress in a fire at the national houses of parliament that erupted two days before the planned release of a damning report on a probe into government corruption.
A commission was set up in 2018 to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the country's public sector. It submitted its findings to President Cyril Ramaphosa in late December and was to make a part of the report public on Tuesday.
"I suspect that information in there shows government corruption... I rise to say government itself led by Ramaphosa and his ministers and people deployed there might want this information to be destroyed," Willie Madisha, of the Congress of the People, told Sputnik.
The fire erupted early on Sunday in the oldest wing of the sprawling parliament complex in Cape Town, used by the National Council of Provinces as well as for committee meetings. A blaze was later reported in the so-called New Wing, where the lower house National Assembly sits. That fire has not been extinguished yet.
Madisha, who sits on the National Assembly, told Sputnik he was surprised by the fire given that security at the complex was very tight. But he argued that the place was prone to mishaps "whenever serious issues are raised."
A general view of a building on fire at the South African Parliament precinct in Cape Town on January 2, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.01.2022
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There were copies of the commission's report locked up in the offices of certain officials in parliament. Madisha told Sputnik he was unable to access his office to retrieve the information.
The cause of the fire is not known, but the police arrested and questioned a suspect. Jermaine Carelse, a spokesperson for the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue, told Sputnik in a text message there were "no casualties." Investigations continue.
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