The Enoch Mgijima local municipality in the Eastern Cape has allayed fears that the fire which engulfed one of its buildings on Monday night could have been intentionally sparked to destroy possible evidence.
Pictures of the burning Art Gallery building started circulating on social media around midnight with many users wondering if it was not the work of an arsonist whose intention was to destroy possible evidence linked to the sports field investigation.
There is currently an investigation into the controversial R15m Lesseyton sports field which was unveiled last week.
However, municipal spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa dismissed these allegations, saying the cause of the fire was under investigation.
“It is not possible that the fire is linked to the investigation because that building didn’t even have a single piece of paper as it had not been in use since 2016 when the municipality was established,” said Kowa.
He said the building did not have any assets or machinery and that they were looking for possible tenants.
Kowa said they suspected the fire started around 9.30pm.
“The town’s only fire engine was not available as it have been in for service and is expected back on Wednesday. We have people who volunteers to put out the fire. I will still establish if there was a security on site when the fire started but our suspicions is that there wasn’t one,” said Kowa.
Provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, who also expressed disappointment at the state of the field, has demanded answers on the matter.