Families homeless after shacks burn

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Six families at the Lamontville waterfall informal settlement were left homeless when a man set his shack on fire after a quarrel with his girlfriend on Friday night.

The families lost all their belongings in the fire. The victims say the man, Thembani Mngoma, and his girlfriend Zoleka Mapholoba were heard arguing in their one-roomed shack earlier that evening.

The residents were awoken by the smell of smoke coming from the couple's shack and when they went to investigate, Mngoma was alone inside the burning shack. His girlfriend had fled.

A neighbour said when she came out to investigate she found Mngoma in the burning shack refusing to come out.

At the time of the fire, his girlfriend had allegedly gone to lay a charge of assault at the nearby police station.

The neighbour called for help and people came and broke the door. Mngoma came out and fell to the ground. By then, six shacks had already caught fire, she said.

She said when the community members were busy trying to put out the fire, they noticed that Mngoma was nowhere to be seen.

He had run away.

"He is nowhere to be found. The community is angry at what he did and we have looked everywhere for him in vain," the neighbour said.

Dolly Maduna, an unemployed single mother, said she ran for her life with her two children. Her shack had burnt down completely.

"The only things I have left are my babies and the clothes we have on our backs," she said.

The local municipality and provincial social development officials went to the area with food parcels yesterday.

Building materials were provided for the victims to rebuild their shacks. Maduna said she was grateful that they were being provided with building materials to rebuild their shacks.