Devil's Peak fire suspect can't be linked to arson, says NPA

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

Firefighting teams dampen smouldering vegetation, finally getting a fierce forest fire under control on the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town on 19 April 2021. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

CAPE TOWN - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that 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 Wednesday 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 the University of Cape Town.

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

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

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