Parents wait for 'cash to wipe tears'
THE parents of four boys who reportedly died of smoke inhalation at the Christiana School for the Blind in North West in November 2010 want the department of education to compensate them.
They say they have been waiting a long time for the department to fulfill its promise.
They claim former MEC of the department, Raymond Elisha, promised his department would pay the funeral costs and give them "some money to wipe their tears", but until today nothing had happened.
Instead they have been sent from pillar to post.
Their children, Gift Mziganye, 8, Tshiamo Diphoko, 8, Godfrey Mpato, 10, and Tumisang Molebatsi, 13, were allegedly trapped in a locked dormitory when a suspicious fire broke out at about 10pm at their hostel.
The four boys, who were sharing one room, died after the fire destroyed their beds.
Their bodies were found behind the door, a hint that they had been trying to escape when they were overcome by smoke and died.
The remains of the fourth boy, who is believed to be totally blind, was discovered under a bed with burns to his head.
The frustrated parents say the department paid only the funeral costs, but did not honour their promise to donate cash.
They claim they were advised by officials in the department never to complain to the media.
The cause of the fire and why the boys were locked up have never been established, and the lack of feedback frustrates them even more because they still do not know what happened to the investigation team that was appointed by MEC Elisha to establish the real cause of the fire that killed their children.
The little bit of information they received was that the boys were allegedly kept in one room to protect them from being sodomised by older boys.
One of the parents, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised by the departmental officials, say they were told that a hostel master found the bodies of the four blind boys huddled behind their dormitory's locked door.
"They told us that our children were killed from inhaling smoke, but I have proof that mine was burnt," said the angry parent.
Sowetan has seen the pictures of the boy's charred body photographed at a mortuary.
"It was not just smoke. Look at these pictures. They show the boys were burnt," he said, pointing at the pictures.
Departmental spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane refused to comment, saying: "This is a sensitive matter. I'm not commenting."