South Africa: State Yet to Finalise Investigation After Backtracking On Arson Charges Against Cape Town Fire Suspect

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The state is yet to complete its investigations into the charge of contravening the National Environmental Management Act against Frederick Mhangazo in connection with a fire on Devil's Peak, Cape Town. The state had previously charged Mhangazo with arson, but changed this charge 10 days after his arrest.

File photo: Frederick Mhangazo right, stands alongside attorney Shaun Balram left, as they address the media. He had pulled his mask down to address the media. Mhangazo became tearful as he thanked Balram for his assistance and as he explained the hostility and discrimination homeless people face. (Photo: Christi Nortier).

On 18 April, Frederick Mhangazo was arrested after being accused of starting a fire on the slopes of Devil's Peak. Wildfire tore through Table Mountain National Park, Rhodes Memorial and the campus of the University of Cape Town, some distance away from Mhangazo's arrest.

He first appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates' Court on 20 April. The matter was postponed to allow for his address to be confirmed.

On 28 April, the state changed its charge of arson to a charge of contravening the National Environmental Management Act. Mhangazo was released on R500 bail and told the matter would proceed in court...

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