Health dept arsonist has mental problems
An elderly man walked into the health dept head office in Pretoria and set it alight.
JOHANNESBURG - It's emerged the man arrested for starting a fire at the offices of the Department of Health in Pretoria has mental health problems and was angry at officials there.
The tower in the inner city was evacuated on Wednesday and streets remained closed for several hours as the police conducted investigations.
A police official on the scene said that a 63-year-old man believed he could cure HIV and was angry that the department didn't take him seriously.
It's understood he has mental health problems.
On Wednesday afternoon, the man entered the premises from the corners of Thabo Sehume and Struben Street, doused the reception area with a flammable liquid from a canister and set it alight.
Security guards quickly extinguished the blaze and apprehended the culprit before handing him over to police.
No one was injured, but several scorched ceiling panels at the entrance collapsed while the walls are now stained with soot.
Police have charged the man with arson.
Meanwhile, the health department says it's satisfied with security measures in place at its Pretoria offices despite the attack.
The department's spokesperson Joe Maila says the fact that the man was apprehended before he fled proves security measures there are adequate.
"We are safe at the department. At least our building is safe, that is why they were able to apprehend this person immediately."