Fund helps fire victims

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

A trust fund will be established to assist the victims of a fire at an old-age home.

Twelve pensioners died when a fire engulfed their dormitory at KwaBadala Old Age Home at Inkandla on Tuesday night.

Four people injured in the fire, including a 99-year-old woman, are in a stable condition in a local hospital.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for social development Meshack Hadebe said he was touched by the number of calls he had received. A black businesswoman from Gauteng pledged R1million to assist survivors and help with the burial of the dead victims. Two Gauteng companies pledged donations of R800000 and R150000 respectively.

Hadebe said he was considering an independent board to handle the trust.

"It's touching to see that we still have people in our nation with humanity. And I'm looking forward to see them tomorrow at the memorial service for the victims," he said.

Hadebe said he had asked the companies' representatives to attend the memorial service.

"I'm surprised that no single company or business person in the province has shown sympathy after this horrible tragedy," he said.

"And that leaves many questions about our local business people. It clearly shows that they are only happy to milk people but they cannot plough back, even after such a tragedy."

Hadebe said incidents like this one disturbed service delivery because they were not budgeted for and "judging by weather conditions, we still expect more disasters".

Social workers have been dispatched to trace family members of the deceased.

Hadebe said it was important to find the relatives as soon as possible as "this would help the department release the identities of the victims".

Police are still investigating the cause of the fire.