'Mantshwabisi' inferno perpetrators in police custody

Scenes from the fire break out : PIC KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Scenes from the fire break out : PIC KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Two men believed to be behind the inferno at the popular desert race known as 'Mantshwabisi' that torched 49 vehicles in Jwaneng on Sunday have handed themselves into police custody.

The two are allegedly behind the fire that swept through one of the spectators' designated parking lots burning dozens of vehicles beyond recognition, just as the event was about to wrap up. Jwaneng Police Station commander, Superintendent Thuso Basupi told MmegiOnline this morning that the two men are currently detained as investigations into the incident, which ended in a sombre mood, continue. Basupi added that the duo has not yet been charged because police investigations are yet to determine which charge they will face.

Basupi revealed that the two men were street vendors cooking and selling their eateries at the event. “They have confessed that they were the ones who started the fire. They have disclosed that the flames accidentally caught the grass only to torch the nearest car consequently creating a towering flame which burnt a whole lot of vehicles,” he said. Asked if the two vendors were permitted to cook in the public space, Basupi added they are yet to establish if the two were licensed to be there and whether the Jwaneng Town Council had issued permits. The two men are amongst others likely to face malicious injury to property charges after committing the offence. The Penal Code states that any person who wilfully and unlawfully destroys or damages any property is guilty of an offence and he or she is liable if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Moreover, if the destruction or damage endangers the life of any person, the offender is liable to imprisonment for life. Fortunately, there were no casualties on Sunday.

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