Death toll from cold snap rises to 20

Sowetan Reporters

Sowetan Reporters

The cold snap that has hit the country this week has claimed three more lives, bringing the national death toll to at least 20 yesterday.

In Mamelodi, Pretoria, Annah Sibula, 63, and her paraplegic granddaughter, Rokunda Mulaudzi, 10, died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a brazier fire.

A 69-year-old woman burnt to death when her shack caught fire in Eatonside, in the Vaal. The cause of the fire is unknown.

In Sandton, Johannesburg, four townhouses caught fire yesterday morning. Emergency services spokesman Malcolm Midgley said the fire was caused by a two-bar electrical heater in one of the houses.

The Salvation Army said yesterday the number of people seeking help from them had risen sharply.

The organisation's community relations secretary, Major Timothy Mabaso, said: "The number of people we provide with hot meals, blankets and warm clothing increases substantially every winter. With the recent chilly weather the pressing need will be even greater."

In Eastern Cape, education authorities hope more pupils will return to schools after they were closed because of snow.