Alleged Table Mountain arsonist referred for mental health evaluation

2018-04-12 16:31
Fires on Table Mountain. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Fires on Table Mountain. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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A man accused of starting fires on Table Mountain needs to be evaluated at a psychiatric institution before his criminal case can continue, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

Prosecutor Adiel Jansen said this was the recommendation of the district surgeon who examined 32-year-old Bernard Yumbu Ndombele.

He was arrested on April 4 after allegedly starting four fires on the mountain.

READ MORE: Suspected arsonist arrested on Table Mountain

After a police official in court shouted "fire man, fire man, fire man" towards the holding cells below on Thursday morning, Ndombele emerged with a white jersey draped over his shoulders and stood in the dock with his hands behind his back for his second appearance.

Resembling a boxer or hip-hop artist with his shiny red designer tracksuit, fashionable black spectacles and a neat beard, a pint-sized Ndombele listened intently to proceedings.

Jansen asked for a postponement "to ascertain whether a bed is available at Valkenberg".

Accused claims fires were for 'religious' purposes

Magistrate Joe Magele told the accused he would remain in custody at Pollsmoor prison until his next appearance on May 11.

Ndombele addressed the court: "I would like to apologise, my Lord. I am very sorry for my actions. I would like to apologise to fellow South Africans for taking away what belongs to them. It will never happen again."

Magele did not comment and the accused was ushered back downstairs.

The accused had made a similar "apology" at his last appearance and, at one point, said he had been "commanded to deliver a message".

News24 understands that he worked as a car guard on Table Mountain Street.

It is understood that, following his arrest, he told police he had started the fires for religious purposes.

Safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith previously told News24 that the accused apparently screamed at the location where the fires started and that he was found with petrol and other fire-making devices.

The fires were above the lower cableway station.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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