Cape Town resident describes catching Table Mountain arson suspect in the act

A Devil's Peak resident has described how he helped catch a man he saw starting fires on the mountain on Sunday evening.

Firefighters leave an area where the flames become too aggressive, as a forest fire burns out of control on the foothills of Table Mountain, above the University of Cape Town, in Cape Town, on 18 April 2021. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

CAPE TOWN - A Devil's Peak resident has described how he helped catch a man he saw starting fires on the mountain on Sunday evening.

"I don't think of myself as a hero and I don't like to call myself that. I was having dinner with my family and we have a sort of decking part of our house and we saw them light some fires. We saw three silhouettes behind the fire that they were lighting. They started to light a second fire and then they were on their way to lighting a third fire," Yazeed Evans said in an interview on CapeTalk.

"So, I decided to grab the two German Shepherds that we have, they're fully trained German Shepherds, and my eldest son and myself just sprinted up towards where we know where that walking trail was, it's about a kilometre sprint and we just tried to stop that person from lighting any more fires."

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Evans handed the man over to security guards before law enforcement officials took him into custody.

The suspect is expected in court on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, the Public Works Department was assessing the damage to government-owned buildings following the Cape Town fires.

Minister Patricia de Lille's Newlands home was among the destroyed properties.

On Monday, another minister and two deputies were also evacuated from their homes in Walmer Estate.

The department said that it was in contact with the affected families to offer support.

Spokesperson Zara Nicholson: "The department will continue to monitor the situation closely and continue to work with the SAPS and firefighters to ensure that we do all that we can to protect lives and properties. Minister De Lille also wants to express her thanks to the various organisations and Capetonians, who have once again been quick to open their hearts to support the firefighters in this massive task as well as to offer all kinds of help to students and families who've had to evacuate their homes for safety."

The first fire broke out on Sunday morning and by the afternoon, residents, including students at the University of Cape Town, had to be evacuated.

The fire also came close to Deputy President David Mabuza's residence, but police worked with firefighters to contain the blaze and there was no damage to his property.

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque.

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