Malawian family among dead in shack fire

Four die in Lwandle

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Photo of burned shacks
A shack fire at the weekend left four dead in Lwandle, Strand. Photo: Velani Ludidi

Four people died when 28 shacks were destroyed in a fire in Ezinkomeni in Lwandle, Strand at the weekend.

The fire, which started around 11 pm on Saturday, left 44 people homeless.

The bodies of two adults and a 12-year old girl were found after the fire was extinguished. The body of an infant, the child of the two adults, was discovered in the morning while the residents were clearing up.

Lwandle police captain Joseph du Toit said the identities of the dead could not be released until DNA tests had been completed.

“It’s a very sad day for us,” said resident Nosiphelo Mhlabeni. “I think they were cooking because they liked frying at night. Everything happened so quickly and we could not save anything.”

While the residents were clearing the area, body parts were found and forensic experts were called to come to collect them.

The two adults had come from Malawi to South Africa in search of opportunities, said residents’ committee member Siphiwe Booi.

Ezinkomeni has been an informal settlement since the late 1990s and was electrified in 2008. Booi said promises had been made for more than ten years to move the residents but it seemed the area had become their permanent home. “There was a promise about land in Vlakteplaas then again in Mfuleni but nothing materialised.”

Speaking on behalf of councillor Jongidumo Maxheke, Xolani Diniso said donations would be collected for the affected residents. “What happened here is sad and we must come together to assist these families to start over.”

Jermaine Carelse of the City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue department said the fire had been extinguished at 2:40am by 38 firefighters.

Charlotte Powell of the City’s Disaster Risk Management said residents would be provided with starter kits to rebuild their homes.

TOPICS:  Housing

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