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Zille: Charge cigarette butt tossers

Helen Zille said the province is alarmed that more than 17,000 fires were reported since the fire season started.

FILE: Working on Fire firefighters battle a blaze in the Western Cape. Picture: @wo_fire/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – Western Cape Premier Helen Zille believes motorists who toss cigarette butts out of their windows, which she says contributes to fires, should be charged with attempted arson.

Speaking during her State of the Province Address on Friday, Zille said the province is alarmed that more than 17,000 fires were reported since the fire season started almost three months ago.

A decade ago firefighters dealt with 12,000 fires in an entire year.

Zille says her administration will provide support to law enforcement to go after those starting fires.

“I believe that throwing cigarette butts out of car windows should also constitute attempted arson. With our winds, it merely takes a spark to land on a patch of dry grass to become a raging inferno.”

She adds that probes to determine the causes are underway.

“It is impossible to establish with any certainty the cause of most of this fire – but we know that a great many have to do with human agency, whether by accident or ill-intent, all allegations of criminality are reported to the relevant authorities.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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