Luthuli House arson attack political - ANC

2013-09-04 07:28
(File, Supplied)

(File, Supplied)

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Fire at Luthuli House

2013-09-04 08:35

The police are investigating a case of arson after a fire started at ANC headquarters in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - The ANC believes that a fire which broke out in its Luthuli House headquarters in downtown Johannesburg on Tuesday evening was an arson attack and was political.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu told Beeld that the incident was a "political attack" aimed at destabilising the party in the run-up to next year's general elections.

He added that the ANC viewed the incident in a serious light.

A bottle containing an unknown chemical exploded in the reception area of Luthuli House at about 18:00 on Tuesday, Sapa reported. Security guards managed to contain the fire, which damaged a couch as well as the floor and ceiling. The building was evacuated.

According to Beeld, a number of top ANC members were in a meeting on the 11th floor of the building at the time, including Mthembu and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Justice Minister Jeff Radebe left the building before the fire. Earlier on Tuesday, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe had met with a Chinese delegation.

Mthembu told The Star that he went to the reception area after the fire had been extinguished. "There was a lot of smoke and a smell of something chemical," he said.

According to The Star, police sniffer dogs were sent in to search for any more devices. Forensic and ballistic experts were also at the scene, and the evidence, along with CCTV footage, will be studied.

Security at the building is normally tight. A fire broke out on the 6th floor in 2005, and in 2008 a man tried to set a security scanner alight, while there was also a bomb threat later that year, The Star reported.

 

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