Tanzanian Frederick Mhangazo cape town fires

Photo: City of Cape Town

Cape Town fires: Suspected arsonist named, identified as ‘Tanzanian national’

There have been big developments in the Cape Town Regional Court on Tuesday – but what is there to know about the suspected arsonist, Frederick Mhangazo?

Tanzanian Frederick Mhangazo cape town fires

Photo: City of Cape Town

Frederick Mhangazo has appeared in CPT’s Regional Court on Tuesday, accused of starting the Cape Town fires that destroyed almost 600 hectares of land and several local institutions across the Mother City. A swift response from SAPS and concerned residents led to the arrest of this Tanzanian national on Sunday.

Who is Frederick Mhangazo? Cape Town fires suspect named

The news comes just 48 hours after the fire started, and quickly got out of control. The University of Cape Town, the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant, and even Mostert’s Mill were all badly damaged by the flames. Frederick Mhangazo was officially named in court on Tuesday, after responding to the charges of arson filed against him.

We understand his lawyer is claiming innocence for the 38-year-old, saying that he has been ‘wrongfully accused’. While in the dock, the defence also stated that Mr. Mhangazo ‘has no criminal record to speak of’. Meanwhile, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Spokesperson in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, confirmed to the media:

‘’Frederick Mhangazo appeared at Cape Town Regional Court today. The Tanzanian national is charged with arson. His case has been postponed to 28 April.”

Tanzanian national appears in court

The accused was apprehended by the side of Table Mountain on Sunday evening. He made no attempt to flee the scene of the crime, and at one stage, was accused of trying to start ANOTHER blaze while the Cape Town fires raged. He was discovered by a group of nearby residents, who used their protection dogs to track Frederick Mhangazo down.

Several road closures remain in place, but Philip Kgosana Drive outgoing and all links to Philip Kgosana outgoing at Roeland street have been reopened. It’s also worth noting that the Environmental Health Service is doing ongoing water sampling at the Molteno Reservoir – ‘to ensure that any ash from the fire does not affect the water quality.

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