Philippi residents are furious that the Athlone Magistrate’s Court released a woman accused of arson on R800 bail on Tuesday despite her failure to adhere to the conditions of a court order last year.
Last year the Philippi Magistrate’s Court ordered that she have no communication, direct or indirect, with Mthobeli Tame, 26, after she broke all the windows of his house and damaged his property.
But on Saturday, while out on bail, the 21-year-old woman allegedly set Tame’s shack alight, in the process burning down three shacks and an RDP house in Philippi’s Village 2.
The woman, whose name is known to West Cape News, cannot be named as she has not yet pleaded to the charge of arson since being arrested for the crime on Saturday.
Following the blaze, a group of residents marched to the woman’s home and interrogated her before hauling her to the scene of the crime.
She was saved from serious assault by patrolling police officers.
Residents believe she set Tame’s shack alight because he broke up a relationship with her in the middle of 2010.
Residents say that if police release her again they will take the law into their own hands.
Resident Mawande Chopphityala, 29, whose shack was burnt in the fire, said: “We will teach her a lesson because it does not seem she will compensate us for the material lost in the fire.
“She should have known that by burning her (ex) boyfriend’s house, other people’s houses would also burn,” said Chopphityala.
Another resident who lost her home to the fire, Gloria Hempe, 34, said: “I don’t care what the court has decided, all I want is my furniture. If she cannot get my things back I will see what I can do, I will make a plan.”
Hempe said she lost a new refrigerator and a stove she bought last month, and all her furniture.
“What I am wearing is all I have,” she said.
Tame said he on his way home from the tavern when his saw his ex-girlfriend waiting for him at the gate to his shack.
According to Tame they had a short argument, after which she set a t-shirt alight and threw it into his shack, setting his home ablaze.
Tame said she wanted him to date her again but he refused.
Within minutes after she set his shack alight, three other shacks and one RDP house were also on fire.
Three emergency fire trucks stopped the fire from spreading further.
Tame said “I don’t want her back in my life. I was surprised when I saw her waiting for me on Saturday. I told her I don’t need her in my life and she went crazy.”
Police had not responded by the time of going to press. – Sandiso Phaliso, West Cape News