The alleged Overstrand arsonist, Sheldon April, who is accused of igniting a devastating fire in a nature reserve near Betty’s Bay on New Year’s Day, has been granted bail of R5 000 in the Caledon Magistrate’s Court. 41 houses were completely destroyed and 28 others damaged.

April, 34, faces charges under the Natural Environment Act and the Veld and Forest Fires’ Act, which carry heavy fines and imprisonment.

He testified that he was not in the area when the fire started, but the National Prosecuting Authority says a key eyewitness saw him firing a flare twice.

NPA Spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila says April has to stay under house arrest at his sister’s house in Elsiesriver. He is also not allowed any contact with eyewitness Heinrich Adonis.