South Africa: Man Accused of Starting Deadly Overstrand Fire Expected to Appear in Court

Smoke rises from the wildfire in Betty's Bay.

The man accused of starting a devastating blaze that ripped through the Overstrand area in the Western Cape last week, is expected to appear in the Caledon Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The 34-year-old is facing a charge of contravention of the Nature Conservation Act.

The fires have affected areas close to Betty's Bay, Pringle Bay, Hangklip and Rooi Els.

One person has been reported dead.

It is unclear if a murder charge will be added on the charge sheet, should police forensics find that the deceased had died as a result of the fire.

On Thursday, police spokesperson Captain Harold Nqwenani told News24 that there were witnesses to the alleged contravention.

"We've got witnesses also. We locked the suspect at Kleinmond police station".

It is understood that a flare had been set off in Betty's Bay on New Year's Day, leading to a fire in the mountains.

That fire is still ongoing in the mountains, with firefighters working day and night to put it out.

The R44 between Gordon's Bay and Rooi Els was closed overnight as the fire spread to Koggelsbaai.

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said it would reopen at 09:00 on Monday.

City of Cape Town Fire Services spokesperson Theo Layne said the fire near the Koggelsbaai mountain was largely contained, while firefighting efforts continued in the surrounding area.

Source: News24

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