In a statement on Monday morning, Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, confirmed that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the Cape Town fires.
Smith confirmed, saying: ’’There is a lot of speculation currently about additional fires that were started, and whether the original fire was an act of arson. This will form part of investigations, but the City can confirm that one suspect in his thirties was taken into custody last night in the vicinity of Devil’s Peak,’’.
According to his statement, the fire initially started in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial and has spread in the direction of Vredehoek.
He continued, saying: ’’Thus far, two City firefighters have been injured and we wish them a speedy recovery.”
’’For now, the focus is on bringing the fire under control and we appeal to the public to assist the authorities by following instructions in respect of evacuations where necessary, staying away from the active firefighting scenes so that firefighters can focus on the job at hand, and by reporting any information that may be relevant to the investigations into this incident.’’
According to reports, in Vredehoek, Chelmsford Road, Pepper Tree Road and Tafelberg Road have been closed.
The M3 inbound and outbound remain closed between Hospital Bend and Rhodes Drive; Phillip Kgosana Drive inbound is closed at Hospital Bend; Princess Ann Avenue is closed between the Main Road and the M3, and Woolsack Drive is closed between Main Road and the M3.
IOL reports that Roeland Street in the CBD, at Phillip Kgosana outgoing, has been closed due to poor visibility on Phillip Kgosana Drive. Vehicles have been diverted down Kuyper and Derry streets. Noordelik Road has been closed as well.
According to a City of Cape Town report, property, including private homes, the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and historical structures such as the Mostert’s Hill windmill have been damaged by the blaze.
Following the handle #CapeTownFire on Twitter, the UCT library can also be seen being destroyed by the blaze.