Jealous Zola man burns sons alive
THE father of three children who burnt to death in a fire in Soweto late on Tuesday night faces charges of murder and attempted murder if he comes out of a coma after sustaining serious burns in the fire.
The Zola man - who allegedly caused an inferno that led to the tragedy that killed his boys, aged three, seven and 10, and left him and the children's mother in a coma - reportedly changed drastically after spending years in jail for crimes, including car theft.
The couple were admitted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital after suffering serious burns. Neighbours say they heard screams before a loud bang alerted them to the fire just before midnight on Tuesday.
Soweto police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said if the man recovered he was due to be charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder.
The man's sister said doctors had informed relatives that the couple's chances of survival were slim.
"The doctors told us they had a 20 percent chance of survival," she said.
The man's grandmother, who lives a street away from the scene of the blaze, told how hysterical the burnt woman was when she rushed for help. Her actions were also tinged with despair and agony at having to watch helplessly as her children perished.
"It was 1am when she came knocking, crying and screaming, shouting that my grandchild had burnt her children. I was terrified. I could hardly recognise her. Her clothes had melted to her skin," she said.
The man had allegedly set fire to the outside room he shared with the woman, who had been his live-in lover for 10 years, and their children. It is alleged that their spat stemmed from the man's suspicion that the woman was having an affair with his brother. The couple is said to have been planning to get married in December.
Amid tears the man's brother said yesterday that there had been a misunderstanding about a dinner between him and the woman, which had led to a fight between the couple.
"After work I passed by my brother's place, only to find him sleeping, while my sister-in-law was cooking and she dished up for us and the kids," the brother said.
"After eating I left, seeing that he was fast asleep. Later in the evening I received a message from her saying: 'Your brother is accusing me of having a Valentine's Day dinner with you - in his presence - and that we are sleeping together'."