Report arsonists to the authorities

Report arsonists to the authorities

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GK CRONJE

18 May 2021

If you see a suspected arsonist in your ward or area, please contact ACSU on 017 811 1274, the SAPS on 10111, or your neighborhood watch, such as SACCW’s Theo Craven on 081 733 0032 immediately.

The dry winter season is all but upon us, and this poses the opportune setting for idle hands to cause extensive damage, as well as putting countless lives in danger, both human and animal. Arson is the act whereby a person sets the fire, or intends to start a fire, knowing that the fire will destroy something. The majority of arson crimes are classified as intentional, wilfully and maliciously. This means that the arsonist has the intent to cause damage upon starting the fire. Though the act typically involves buildings, the term arson can also refer to the intentional burning of fields, dry grass and leaves, which is a common sight in Ermelo. During the course of last week, motorists traveling in the area in and around President Fouché Avenue had to pay extra attention, as thick smoke bellows from the adjacent field made visibility extremely poor. Further aggravating the situation is the fact that the road was obscured by smoke in the timeframe where traffic flow was ramping up as residents returned from work.

Allegations have surfaced that a gardening service set a pile of dry leaves on fire, subsequently causing the fire to spread to the nearby field. The imprisonment term for a convicted crime relating to arson could be set up to seven years or more, and a fine of up to R250 000, and four years of probation. If you see a suspected arsonist in your ward or area, please contact ACSU on 017 811 1274, the SAPS on 10111, or your neighborhood watch, such as SACCW’s Theo Craven on 081 733 0032, immediately. The SACCW can be contacted via WhatsApp messaging, should you so desire. Where possible, obtain photographs or video footage of the suspect in the act, as this will make identification and possible conviction or fining of the felon easier.