An argument between a brother and sister as to who should take ownership of a house they were sharing at G-section in Umlazi, outside Durban, ended in flames when the brother allegedly set it on fire.
The brother is a convicted prisoner out on parole.
The man is now on the run from police. With the help of caring neighbours, the sister managed to put out the flames before the entire house was razed to the ground.
According to police, furniture and clothes amounting to about R40000 were burnt to ashes.
Neighbours said the 40-year-old suspect and his sister, in her 30s, were engaged in an argument. The brother wanted to take control of the house, saying he was "the man of the house".
Local police said the suspect had just been released from prison on parole in August for various crimes including house robberies and assaulting the police.
Police spokesman Khephu Ndlovu said the suspect believed that he should run the home and "not a woman".
"The suspect allegedly set the house on fire. We are still investigating how the fire started."
By yesterday, the man had not been arrested. A case of arson is being investigated. No one was injured in the fire but the sister is too afraid to talk about the matter.
l Meanwhile, police in KwaZulu-Natal are monitoring the situation after two street children, suspected of shoplifting, were burnt to death. In another incident a street child was stuffed in the boot of a car after he allegedly stole goods from cars in Chatsworth.
Police spokesman Edmund Singh said they would keep an eye on street children to ensure their safety, and encouraged members of the public to report offences committed by them instead of taking the law into their own hands.
Five men allegedly caught the street child in possession of goods that had been stolen from one of their cars.
"The man allegedly caught the teenager and stuffed him in the boot and drove off to a isolated area where they assaulted him."
Singh said police have arrested the five men and the teenager, who will all appear in the Chatsworth magistrate's court today.