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'Arson attempts at Civitas building & Lisbon building fire mere coincidence?'

Three firemen died while trying to extinguish the fire that broke out on the 23rd floor of the Lisbon Bank building in downtown Johannesburg.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi (2nd from R) and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (2nd from L) at a briefing on 7 September 2018. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA - Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has suggested that two arson attempts at the national Health Department’s head offices in Pretoria and the deadly fire in Johannesburg are linked.

The minister and his counterpart in Health Aaron Motsoaledi delivered a briefing in Pretoria on Friday.

Three firemen died on Wednesday while trying to extinguish the fire that broke out on the 23rd floor of the Lisbon Bank building in downtown Johannesburg.

Nxesi says on Tuesday, a fire was started in the Civitas Building basement in Tshwane and then on Thursday another blaze was started in the 14th-floor kitchen.

“How do you have attempted arson in the headquarters of health three days ago and the following day there’s this fire? Yesterday there was another attempted arson, is this a coincidence?”

Motsoaledi says he’s deeply concerned.

“I’m extremely, extremely scared because we’ve got 1,000 people there.”

While neither minister would speculate on the motive for the arson, it has been reported to the police.