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After more than two months of “intense investigation”, police have released the name and photograph of a man wanted in connection with the blaze that gutted the Barmooda nightclub in Observatory in June.
Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk has confirmed that a Cape Town magistrate has now issued a warrant for the arrest of Nasiet Haywood, who is still at large.
Van Wyk said the police believed that Haywood frequented the Goodwood, Maitland and Summer Greens areas.
He added that Haywood was wanted in connection with a charge of armed robbery. He is suspected of entering the club at around 2am on June 15, tying up four staff members, robbing them at gunpoint and using petrol to set the building alight, before running off. He is thought to have then got into a waiting car. The car was later found abandoned in Maitland.
Police suspect that petrol bombs were used.
A 21-year-old woman who had been working in an upstairs photographic studio at the time of the fire, managed to rescue the four staff members.
Van Wyk added that the police were also still investigating information that a second suspect was involved, but no details were yet available.
Meanwhile, insurers have given the go-ahead for the building in which the club was situated to be restored.
Owner Zhaun Amid-Ahmed said this week that the insurance claim had been approved, and that the insurance company had already appointed contractors.
Amid-Ahmed said eight months had been set aside for the work, but
could not say when the restoration would start. He was looking for tenants and had been approaching franchise chains.
“Obviously we want to source the best tenants, and we think it is a good spot for a franchise,” he added.
Asked whether Barmooda would return, he said: “That is not even a thought.”
Barmooda operator Reon Heckrath previously vowed to reopen the club, even though local residents have long been opposed to the club, complaining of noise.
There were also allegations that Heckrath and the club were linked to gangsterism and drugs because of his friendship with Raqeeb “Ricky” Oaker, a suspected Junior Mafia gang member who was shot close to Barmooda in 2008. Heckrath has previously denied the allegations.
Mayco member for finance Ian Nielson this week confirmed that the club’s electricity had, in the months preceding the fire, been cut due to non-payment.
“Notice was served in February and May, 2012 to this property, and led to the disconnection of services for electricity arrears,” he said.
* Anyone with information about Haywood should call investigating officer, Warrant Officer Warren Smith of the Woodstock police on 021 486 2863, or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.