On The Trail Of Joburg’s Arsonist, Authorities On High Alert… The arsonist alleged to have set fire to a number of upmarket homes in Johannesburg in the past year appears to have gone to ground amid heightened scrutiny by security companies, police and community groups.
Fidelity Services Group has offered a R100,000 reward to anyone who can provide the company with information which will lead to the successful arrest and conviction of the alleged arsonist.
Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity, said over the past 16 months homes in Bryanston, Houghton, Dunkeld, Illovo, Hyde Park and surrounding areas have reported fires believed to be the work of a single arsonist.
Andre Snyman, head of eBlockwatch, the group that has been tracking the cases for several months, said he had found many victims were unwilling to talk, be identified or have their addresses made public.
“There are several reasons. They don’t want to jeopardise their insurance claims in any way. Secondly, many have been badly rattled and want to sell their properties and get away. Of course they also don’t want to antagonise someone who has been in their homes, knows exactly where they live and could come back at any time,” he said.
“Insurance alone is a very complicated process that takes a very long time so it is understandable people don’t want to upset anything.”
Two weeks have passed since the most recent alleged arson attack in Lower Houghton and the situation has gone quiet.
“If the guy has gone to ground, that’s a good thing. But if he strikes again, we will be ready,” said Snyman.
Bartmann said Fidelity will follow up on all leads in the hope that if the fires are linked, the arsonist can be brought to book.
His company is running a tip-off line 083 939 0300 for anyone who has information relating to the events.