No proof of politics behind Cape fires - provincial disaster head

2017-01-19 16:09
Approximately 15 hectares of land have been destroyed on the farm, Druk-My-Niet in Paarl. (James de Villiers, News24)

Approximately 15 hectares of land have been destroyed on the farm, Druk-My-Niet in Paarl. (James de Villiers, News24)

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Cape Town – There is no proof that any political party was involved in starting fires in the Western Cape, the province’s disaster management head said on Thursday.

"Many times, the people in yellow shirts people see are Working on Fire personnel busy with pre-burns in an area," Colin Deiner said.

According to a voice recording that emerged on Wednesday, firefighter pilots spotted individuals dressed in ANC regalia starting wildfires in Paarl and Stellenbosch.

Deiner believed people were confusing the firefighters’ yellow T-shirts with ANC shirts.

"We have had no pilots telling us that they have spotted people starting fires. These pilots are employed by us, so why wouldn’t they tell us?" Deiner asked.

Western Cape police had assigned a special investigation team to look into claims on social media that the fires were started intentionally.

No complaints received

"[We have] noted with concern allegations on various social media platforms suggesting that certain individuals are responsible for the fires that have been raging in the Paarl and surrounding areas," police said in a statement.

"There are immensely many accusations on social media but no one has made a complaint to the police yet," Deiner said.

"It doesn’t help complaining on social media and not telling the police."

Deiner called on the public to be certain when making accusations. They could not ignore accusations, but only had a limited number of personnel.

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said on Tuesday that the fires in the city were "suspicious" and that investigations were underway.

Residents were urged to report anything they knew about the origin of the fires to their nearest police station or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires
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