A Congolese citizen has been arrested after allegedly setting the house of his girlfriend Cindy-Lou van Wyk on fire when she told him that she was leaving him. Picture: Soraya Crowie/ANA
A Congolese citizen has been arrested after allegedly setting the house of his girlfriend Cindy-Lou van Wyk on fire when she told him that she was leaving him. Picture: Soraya Crowie/ANA

Woman ready to take back arson-accused lover

By Sandi Kwon Hoo Time of article published Oct 16, 2017

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Kimberley - A man has been arrested after allegedly setting fire to his girlfriend’s house after she had told him that she wanted to leave him.

The suspect, who is a Congolese citizen, apparently threatened to kill her and himself if she went through with her plan.

The woman, fearing for her life, hid herself in a wooden wardrobe in one of the bedrooms in her home in Swallow Street, Roodepan during the early hours of on Sunday morning.

She managed to escape through a broken window before the house was engulfed in flames.

Police spokesperson, Captain Bashoabile Kale, said that the Roodepan police were investigating a case of arson.

“A 32-year-old Congolese national was arrested and is expected to appear in court soon after he allegedly set his ex-girlfriend’s house on fire on Sunday morning at about 6am in Swallow Street, Roodepan. There was no one inside the house at the time and no injuries were reported,” said Kale.

Cindy-Lou van Wyk on Sunday explained that her boyfriend had followed her to a pub on Saturday evening and later arrived at the house.

Family members sift through the remains of Cindy-Lou van Wyk’s house, which was allegedly set alight by her boyfriend after an argument. Picture: Soraya Crowie/ANA

“He was under the influence of alcohol and was threatening to commit suicide. He was carrying two kitchen knives. He was insisting that we should remain together and I managed to calm him down.”

Van Wyk said that he had chased one of her tenants, who rents a room at her house, out the back of the house.

“A scuffle broke out and one of the tenants was stabbed in the process although the injuries were not serious.

“I never slept the entire night and decided to hide myself in the wardrobe.”

Van Wyk said that she had prayed that her boyfriend, whom she has been dating for the past five months, would not discover her hiding place.

“He kept calling, asking ‘where is my baby?’ I was laughing softly to myself and at the same time prayed that he would not open the cupboard.

“At about 3am, I heard him walking down the passage and shortly thereafter I heard him light a match, which I assume he placed under the bed in the main bedroom. I smelt smoke and realised that I had to get out through a broken window before I was overcome by smoke inhalation. He had broken several windows in the house before the house was set alight.”

She added that she reported the matter at the Roodepan police station.

“Upon my return, the whole house was on fire.”

Van Wyk added that she had only meant it “as a joke” that she intended to leave her boyfriend.

“Things were not working out and I wanted to teach him a lesson for beating me. He is not normally violent, he is a gentleman. He was extremely upset about me leaving him and was not himself. We were both jealous about each other.

“We often joked about leaving each other and this time he took me seriously. He has never overreacted in this fashion before. I do not believe that he would harm me. We are both madly in love. I do not blame him for what happened. We all learn from our mistakes.”

Van Wyk stated that she would have to stay at a shelter as all her belongings and clothes had been destroyed in the fire.

“I feel empty inside but maybe something good will come out of this and I will turn to God. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise and it will be a wake-up call for my boyfriend.

“I am starting a new job on Friday. I do not care about the furniture, I only worry about my boyfriend and what will happen to him in jail. It is his first time in prison.

“He has been living in the country for about five years, for work purposes. He told me that if he had never met me, he would have gone to Johannesburg a long time ago. If he is granted bail, I will take him back.”

The manager of a small mining operation where the suspect is employed, Marius Licken, indicated that he had advised the suspect to give his girlfriend space and to calm down.

“He acted out of frustration and impulse and was not in his right mind. He is a good man,” said Licken.

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