4 men arrested for setting North West government building on fire
An undisclosed number of employees in the North West department of rural, environment & agricultural development were rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after their offices were set on fire.
Department spokesperson Emelda Setlhako said the workers were in the Agricentre offices in Mmabatho when a group of people set them alight at about 5pm on Monday.
At least four men have since been arrested for arson. They are believed to have been unhappy about some issues when they visited the offices.
Setlhako said the blaze started on the second floor of the building.She said all staff members managed to vacate the building. No fatalities were reported.
“However a number of staff members were receiving medical attention after inhaling smoke,” Setlhako said.
MEC Desbo Mohono has expressed her shock and condemned the act.
“This barbaric act compromises the safety of our clients, our dedicated public servants and it cripples the essential service they render. It is unthinkable that in this time and age, anyone in their right mind would destroy a public facility. Destroying state resources can never be justified. We live in a country where there is rule of law; if people have grievances, they must just follow the right channels to air their grievances.” she said.
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone confirmed that four men aged between 25 and 30 were arrested for arson.
“ They have been arrested but we still need to positively link them to the acts of crime. We will then know as to when they will appear before the court,” he said.
Mohono said the burning of the building was a direct sabotage of state infrastructure which will end up having dire consequences for residents who rely on government services.
She said the department, working together with law enforcement agencies, will not rest until the suspects pay for their acts.