NPA says man accused of starting Cape fire cannot be linked to arson

Frederick Mhangazo appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday and was granted bail of R500.

This picture taken in Cape Town on 18 April 2021 shows a fire-fighting helicopter picking up water from a reservoir to help extinguish a forest fire burning out of control on the foothills of Table Mountain, above the University of Cape Town. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

CAPE TOWN — The National Prosecuting Authority on Wednesday said a man accused of starting a fire on the slopes of Devil's Peak could not be linked to arson.

Frederick Mhangazo appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday and was granted bail of R500.

Mhangazo was arrested on 18 April after a Devil's Peak resident reported seeing a group of men starting at least three separate fires on the mountain slopes.

Earlier that day, a wildfire started at Rhodes Memorial and ravaged parts of UCT.

Mhangazo was never linked to the devastating blaze that destroyed historic buildings and led to home evacuations.

During his court appearance on Tuesday, the 35-year-old man had his arson charge changed to lighting or causing an open fire without proper authority.

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