Girl, 12, left disfigured after candle burns bed

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

A 12-year-old girl from Madibogo-Pan village, 130km from Mafikeng, has sustained third-degree burns that have destroyed the first two layers of her skin and damaged her nerves, muscles and tendons.

Gaopalelwe Setlhogo, the mayor of Ratlou, said Mosetsana Setae had suffered the burns because of her mother's negligence.

"Her mother left a burning candle near the bed when she went out of the house.

"On her return, she found that the candle had fallen onto the bed, which had caught fire.

"It was only through the grace of God that the child survived," said Setlhogo.

Mosetsana has been in and out of hospitals most of her life.

To make matters worse, her biological mother abandoned her to the care of her aunt, Serurubele Setae.

Setae does not have an identity document so she cannot apply for a government grant for her niece.

The only income of the household is the pension of Setae's ailing grandmother.

A trust fund was established in the grandmother's name but has run out of money. Setlhogo told Sowetanthat the expenditure of some of the money in the trust fund cannot be accounted for.

Mosetsana was sent to Johannesburg Hospital last year but doctors sent her back to her village.

Setlhogo has promised that the municipality would help Mosetsana and her family by allocating to them an RDP (reconstruction and development programme) house.

The spokesman for the North West Department of Health, Zakes Molala, said he would meet the MEC for health, Nomonde Rasmeni, soon to discuss the help the department could offer to the family.