17 suspects nabbed after N West government building torched over ’tender disputes’
Johannesburg - The Hawks have arrested 17 people who are believed to have torched a North West government building in Mmabatho.
The building was burnt on Monday morning and the suspects were arrested on Tuesday.
The Hawks' Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said allegations were that the dispute that led to the burning of the building stemmed from complaints over tender irregularities.
Rikhotso did not elaborate more on the alleged disputed contracts, what they were worth and what they were exactly for.
"The mob allegedly went to the Department of Economic Affairs offices looking for the Head of Department.
"When they were informed of his unavailability, they allegedly set his office alight. It's alleged that the dispute stems from alleged tender irregularities," Rikhotso said.
All the suspects, Rikhotso said, were arrested in Ramosadi village, less than five kilometres from the torched building.
"They were arrested by members of the Hawks, assisted by members of Detectives, Crime Intelligence and Tactical Response Team. The suspects are expected to appear before the Mmabatho Magistrate's Court on 22 July 2020 facing charges of arson," Rikhotso said.
In April last year, a number of employees in the North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development were rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after their offices were also set on fire.
The workers were in the Agricentre offices in Mmabatho when a group of people set them alight at about 5pm on Monday.
Four men were arrested for arson and are believed to have been unhappy about some issues when they visited the offices.