Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Cape Town fire: Suspect arrested for alleged arson in separate blaze, since contained

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is investigating an act of arson after it is believed that a separate fire in the vicinity of Devil’s Peak was started deliberately. This caused crucial fire-fighting resources to be deployed to the area, which were being used to battle the massive Rhodes Memorial fire

Philip Prins, the fire manager of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), said in a Twitter post on Sunday evening that a deliberately set third fire had been successfully contained above Philip Kgosana Drive.  

The fire was not an extension of the Rhodes Memorial fire, he added.  

On Monday morning, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, responded to widespread speculation about additional fires, and if these could have been acts of arson.  

Smith did not say if the Rhodes fire was a result of arson, but did confirm the arrest of one suspect on Sunday evening in relation to the Devil’s Peak fire.

“The City can confirm that one suspect in his thirties was taken into custody last night in the vicinity of Devil’s Peak. He was spotted by a resident, who tracked him down with the help of his sons and the family’s dogs. 

“The matter is with SAPS for investigation and further details will follow as they become available.”

Meanwhile, Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) has widened its sphere of evacuations as the Rhodes fire is rapidly spreading because of strong winds. 

Charlotte Powell, the spokesperson for DRMC, said they had started to evacuate Disa Park and Mountain View in Vredehoek after precautionary evacuations in Peppertree Road. 

All schools in the Vredehoek area have also been told to evacuate. 

“Teams are also en route to Zonnebloem to assess the situation. Residents are requested to please cooperate with the instructions of DRMC staff and the enforcement services, and to evacuate as quickly as possible if requested,” said Powell. 

It is believed the Rhodes Memorial fire originated on Sunday morning, 18 April, from a vacated vagrant fire above the M3 expressway (Philip Kgosana Drive) before it quickly spread towards the Rhodes Memorial, and from there to the Rondebosch campus of the University of Cape Town. 

This is a developing story: updates will be posted during the course of the day.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

Rivals agree on new measures to end Cape Town taxi...

But key route remains closed and affected areas halt issuing of operating licences

Magashule claims his suspension of Ramaphosa was lawful

In his application for leave to appeal the high court judgment, Magashule argues that the court erred in holding that Ramaphosa’s suspension was not lawful without giving any explanation for that conclusion

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

Wayde van Niekerk misses 400m final to compound SA pain

The world record holder was a medal hope but has ultimately been outrun by injury

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…