Luthuli House fire: Police looking into claims of arson

2013-09-04 08:37

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The ruling party was convinced that a fire at its Johannesburg headquarters last night was a malicious act, spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.

“The bottle was strategically placed under the couch at reception – a bottle filled with chemicals. The couch caught fire as the bottle exploded,” said Mthembu on today.

“In our books that is grounds to be confident that this was arson,” he said.

He said the chemicals that filled the bottle left fumes that were still lingering in the building. Mthembu added that a bomb unit, police and other experts all confirmed that the attack was indeed an arson attempt.

“It is pretty clear what we are dealing with and we view such actions in a serious light.”

The ruling party expressed disappointment at the act and said such actions did not have a place in a democratic nation.

“We have avenues to address issues and this (attempted arson) is not one of them ... This was a criminal act.

“South Africa does not need such incidents. An attack at the offices of the governing party or any political office under a democracy is something we do not need.”

SA Police Service Brigadier Neville Malila confirmed an investigation into an alleged arson attack was under way.

Mthembu applauded security staff on duty.

“Security personnel used fire extinguishers to put down ballooning flames that were almost reaching the ceiling of the reception area,” he said.

The ANC said it was unclear what motives were behind the attack.

Work at Luthuli House would continue as usual today.

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