Police, Western Cape government rubbish rumours of 'arsonists' being arrested for Plett fires

2017-06-09 19:05
The aftermath of the deadly fires in the Knysna area. (Supplied)

The aftermath of the deadly fires in the Knysna area. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - A voice note making the rounds on social media and WhatsApp groups - claiming that arsonists who "started" the fires in Plettenberg Bay have been identified and arrested - are unfounded, the Western Cape local government department and police said on Friday.

The voice note from a unidentified man speaking Afrikaans claims that it has been 100% verified that arsonists have "literally started the fires".

"There have been four people 100% identified and caught red-handed trying to start fires. They are eyewitnesses," the man says in the voice note.  

The man goes on to say that people mustn't believe the media "nonsense" that the fires were the result of storm winds, as they were caused by arson.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Potjie said the rumours of arsonists starting fires and being arrested was completely false, and that whoever was spreading this rumour was being malicious.

Potjie added that the cause of the fire had not yet been established.

He did, however, confirm that four suspects had been arrested for allegedly being in possession of stolen property, and said that it was believed that the items stolen had been taken from an evacuated house that had been destroyed by the fire.

Western Cape local government spokesperson James-Brent Styan said they were aware of the rumours of arson, but that they were just rumours, and that no one had been arrested.

The fires have caused massive damage and havoc in Knysna since Wednesday morning, displacing more than 10 000 people and resulting in six deaths.

Read more on:    george  |  cape town  |  weather  |  social networks  |  fires

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