Malamulele police in Limpopo are investigating a case of arson after huts were burnt down in Magona village.
Three thatched huts were torched.
"We were awoken by the loud cries of people, including our neighbours, calling for help," said Margret Maboko, one of the family members.
"Nothing could be saved. Everything, including clothes, beds and food, went up in flames."
It is suspected that the incident is linked to a rumour that the owner of the house, Pele Maboko, poisoned a man in the neighbouring Lombard village.
Maboko has fled the area for his own safety.
According to villagers the poisoning took place while a group of men were drinking a home-made brew in Magona village two weeks ago.
The dead man, Obed Masilo, was laid to rest in Lombard village last week.
The Gidjana tribal authority in Magona has confirmed that there have been complaints about a group of youths in the area who are allegedly in possession of poison.
Tribal officer Philemon Shirindza said the matter has been brought to the council's attention and that investigations were continuing.
According to his brother, Nelson Nobela, Maboko has fled to his grandmother who lives in the Polokwane area.
"My younger brother is not involved in this thing," Nobela said. "I don't know why he hs been dragged into the matter."
Inspector Risimati Chauke has confirmed the incident.
"We are investigating a case of arson," Chauke said. We are nor aware of the alleged poisoning. It is probably a rumour.
"We are investigating and hope to bring the culprits to book soon."