Firefighters are battling a blaze at Parliament in Cape Town.
The fire broke out on Sunday morning.
Authorities were alerted to the blaze at around 5am.
It is said to have started in the Old Assembly building. A fire broke out in the same building in March 2021.
The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith said that internal security, such as safety doors are presenting an impediment as they prevent movement.
“These buildings are old. There has been a suggestion that the fire detection equipment took 30 minutes to register the fire. We could have been there earlier had the fire detection been working. We are investigating that possibility,” he said.
Smith said that one of the fire officers who were first to arrive on the scene – "their determination was that the fire started in one of the offices in the Old Assembly and then spread to the gymnasium".
Jermaine Carelse, the spokesperson for the City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Services, told News24: "The bitumen on the roof is even melting, an indication of the intense heat. There have been reports of some walls showing cracks, which could indicate a collapse."
Thick black smoke can be seen billowing from the National Assembly.
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille told the media that the fire is being brought under control.
She stressed: "It's not the National Assembly that's on fire. What's coming up there is an extractor pulling all the smoke out of the National Assembly.
"The National Assembly is still safe."
— RB (@RoshBardien) January 2, 2022