Following an investigation into the origin of the massive fire that broke out on the slopes of Table Mountain on April 18, it was found that the fire was started intentionally. South African National Parks (SANParks) who investigated the incident revealed their findings to the media on Thursday, June 24.
The fire destroyed several structures, including damage to the University of Cape Town (UCT) while hundreds of students had to evacuate. A restaurant at Rhodes Memorial burned down completely.
Based on the findings of the SANParks investigation, fire investigator Rob Erasmus indicated that CCTV footage showed a vehicle that was closely parked to where the fire had started. However, information regarding the vehicle was not disclosed in the report.
As reported by News24, two separate investigations were conducted to determine the cause of the fire, one by UCT and the other by SANParks. SANParks acting chief executive officer Dr Luthando Dziba added that the report further confirms that the fire was not started by homeless persons as was initially alleged.
Dziba says various potential causes of the fire were thoroughly assessed by an independent investigator, Enviro Wildfire. He stated that the report provides compelling evidence suggesting that the fire may have been started as a malicious act. This evidence is currently being investigated by law enforcement agencies, IOL reports.
The fire destroyed about 600 hectares of land within the Table Mountain National Park, buildings on UCT’s upper campus and some neighbouring properties. According to the report, natural causes were ruled out such as rockfalls, lightning strikes or any accidental negligent incident such as an abandoned fire.
Meanwhile, 35-year-old Frederick Mhangazo was granted bail in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, April 18, after he was arrested on allegations that he started one of the fires on Table Mountain.
Picture: Cape Town etc gallery