You could smell the chemicals - Mthembu

The ANC says it's worried about the intention behind a suspected arson attack at its headquarters.

The ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, in central Johannesburg. Picture: WikiCommons

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says it is almost certain Tuesday's fire at its headquarters in the Johannesburg city centre was as a result of foul play because a bottle that caused the explosion contained chemicals.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's John Robbie on Wednesday morning, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said a bottle was left under a couch in the reception area and it is clear whoever put it there was intent on torching the building.

"The bottle contained chemicals. You could smell them."

While the damage was minimal, Mthembu said the ANC was more concerned about the intention behind the incident.

He said he was thankful security personnel were on the scene at the time and were able to douse the fire.

"If there were no people we would be talking about something else now."

Mthembu also responded to suggestions that there was another similar attempt in Germiston by disgruntled ex-employees of Umkhonto we Sizwe.

He said police are still investigating this and there are no suspects as yet.

Mthembu earlier said the ANC viewed the suspected arson attack as an attempt to destabilise the party.

No injuries were reported.

This is not the first attack on Luthuli House. The last attack was in 2008, where employees were evacuated following an attack by a 66-year-old man who threw petrol over a security scanner and set it alight. In 2005, a fire broke out on the sixth floor destroying offices including those of the then Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe.