Ambassador’s Porsche fire ‘could have been work of arsonist’

2013-02-12 14:06

The fire that destroyed property of South Africa consul-general to China, Lassy Chiwayo, on Friday could have been the work of an arsonist, Chiwayo believes.

Chiwayo said there were indications of forced entry at the main gate of the Tekwane South house near Nelspruit and the petrol cap of his luxury Porsche, which was destroyed in the fire, had been removed.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi could not, however, confirm or deny that the lock of the main gate had been tampered with.

Hlathi said a case of arson was being investigated.

“We’re looking at all possibilities and have sourced the services of experts to assist us with this,” Hlathi said.

Chiwayo said he also lost a quad bike, Persian rugs valued at about R300 000, a bedroom set and curtains when the garage at the state house he is leasing was engulfed by fire.

“There were indications of forced entry where a lock binding a chain around the gate was broken. The petrol cap of the Porsche was removed, which points to a possibility of arson,” Chiwayo said.

The ambassador said he suspected that his political rivals were behind the incident as he had received death threats and his house in Ridgehill Estate in Drumrock near White River was also broken into and four pairs of shoes were taken.

Before he was posted to Shanghai in China, Chiwayo was mayor of Mbombela municipality and he had been outspoken about the death of former council speaker Jimmy Mohlala.

He accused the police of failing to investigate the case.

Mohlala died while fighting corruption relating to the construction of the R1.2?billion Mbombela Stadium.

Chiwayo said he intended to buy the Tekwane house from the Mpumalanga government.

Former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa also stayed in that house when he was premier of Mpumalanga province in the late 1990s.

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