mec slams tricksters

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for socialdevelopment Meshack Radebe has warned the public against falling prey to tricksters asking for donations for the burial of the 11 Newcastle fire victims.

Radebe said the government had already paid for the funeral of the victims.

He said it had come to the attention of his office that some people were collecting money from the community in the Ingogo area under the pretext that the money will be used to bury the Hope in Christ Orphanage fire victims.

Eleven people, including eight children, died in a fire that gutted the orphanage in northern KwaZulu-Natal in February.

Among the dead was the owner of the home Sarah Holland and her son Michael, her granddaughter Nicole and twin grandsons Joshua and Justin.

Holland had donated her home to care for orphans in the community.

"It is illegal and unethical for people to walk around asking for donations from the community claiming that the money will be used for the funeral. Government paid for funeral of the victims and the other one who had to be transported to Potchefstroom," said Radebe.

He said for those who wanted to donate, there was a process in place to enable them to do so. "People should use the office of the mayor in Newcastle or the social development office. if they want to donate

"The community must know that there is no one commissioned to collect such donations," he said.

His office was treating the information as allegations and was thus not prepared to name the alleged culprits.

"As government we have committed ourselves to rebuilding the orphanage and to establish a monument in memory of Holland.

"She had made a lot of sacrifices for our people. And we want to honour her for the contribution she made to our society."

Premier Zweli Mkhize also assured the Holland family that the house would be rebuilt and would remain private property.

The last three children who died in the blaze were buried at the weekend at a ceremony attended by the community and politicians.

Holland died while trying to shield the children from the raging fire with her body. It is suspected that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder.