Mayor the Mbombela local municipality, Lassy Chiwayo (left) shortly after his appointment as mayor. With him is Khaya Mpungose, former administrator of the municipality. 230111 PHOTO BY: Tshwarelo eseng Mogakane / AENS

Mpumalanga -

A case of arson was opened on Sunday following a fire at the home of South Africa's consul-general to China, Lassie Chiwayo, Mpumalanga police said.

Police had earlier said they were still conducting an inquiry after the garage of Chiwayo's Mbombela residence caught fire on Friday.

Colonel Leonard Hlathi said a case was opened at the KaNyamazane police station.

“The damage is worth R1.8 million,” he said.

Chiwayo's vehicle, a quad bike and several items were destroyed.

He told The Sunday Independent he believed the attack was politically motivated as his rivals wanted to “send him a message.”

“I don't believe this is just a crime because this is the fourth time my property is being attacked and 1/8is happening along 3/8 with phone call threats telling me to get out of Mpumalanga. I tried to move on from Mpumalanga politics, but people don't stop,” Chiwayo was quoted as saying.

Chiwayo, was serving as the mayor of Mbombela when municipal speaker, Jimmy Mohlala was gunned down in 2009.

Mohlala was killed a few days before he was meant to testify in a case related to alleged tender corruption in the Mbombela World Cup stadium.

At the time, Chiwayo apparently criticised the way police were dealing with such cases, The Sunday Independent reported. - Sapa