Wupperthal fire: Police investigating arson case after fire ravaged historic town

Western Cape police have confirmed that they are investigating a case of arson following a blaze that destroyed houses and buildings on Sunday in Wupperthal near Clanwilliam.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said they have opened an arson docket.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness over a fire which left at least 200 people homeless and destroyed historic buildings in the small Western Cape town of Wupperthal.

The small Cederberg town saw its Moravian Mission Station, clinic and town hall completely destroyed over the weekend.

The West Coast District Municipality indicated that 53 structures had been destroyed.

"The nation's thoughts go out to the people of Wupperthal who have suffered terrible personal losses alongside cultural assets that are of importance to all South Africans and especially Moravian congregations across the Western Cape," said Ramaphosa in a statement.

PICS: PICS: Ramaphosa hails those who have jumped in to support devastated Wupperthal community

He said government departments would work with the community to bring relief to the area.

Ramaphosa also commended initiatives launched by different communities and organisations to assist Wupperthal residents.

The City of Cape Town's Wilfred Solomon-Johannes, who is also representing the Moravian church, said emergency workers and ambulances from the provincial government had assisted the fire victims overnight.

He said the telecommunications infrastructure had been completely destroyed, leaving the community unable to communicate efficiently.

The disaster management centre was expected to make an aerial assessment to determine the extent of the damage.

"That will be while health officials assist with the dispensing of medication, especially for the aged and frail care as many of the people living in the Wupperthal town are old people," Solomons-Johannes added.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been informed of the situation in order to assist with the provision of clothes, tents and food.

"The assistance from neighbouring towns and municipalities of Clanwilliam, Piketberg, Vredenburg, Malmesbury (Swartland), Cederberg, Matzikama and Bergriver is much appreciated in attempts to bring the raging blaze under control," Solomons-Johannes added.

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