5 siblings locked in shack burn to death

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Five siblings burnt to death when their shack caught fire early on Saturday.

eThekwini's fire department divisional commander Dennis Govender said the children were unable to escape the flames in the shack in Cato Crest, an informal settlement outside Durban, because the burglar gate on it was locked.

"The mother had locked in the children, including a pregnant girl, and had gone out when the shack caught fire. The fire spread quickly to 20 other shacks but no further injuries were reported," he said.

The mother was too traumatised to give the ages of the children who had burnt beyond recognition. The fire is believed to have been caused by a candle.

Mnikelo Ndabankulu, spokesman for the Abahlali BaseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement, said: "Such deaths will continue if the government and municipality do not speed up the process of building houses or installing electricity.

"These are man-made accidents. The government must start a compensation fund such as the Road Accident Fund so that everyone feels the pinch of the situation."