two children burn to death

RESIDENTS of GaMokgolobotho village near Tzaneen in Limpopo are still reeling from shock after two minor children were burnt to death in a house while sleeping yesterday.

The two children were aged 2 and 5.

Their 54-year-old grandmother, who was sleeping with them, is fighting for her life in a local hospital after sustaining third degree burns.

The mother of the children, aged 24, escaped unhurt after running out of the house when she realised it had caught fire.

She was admitted to the same hospital where she was treated for shock.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Seth Magadzi told Sowetan that the dead children were sleeping in a three-roomed house when the fire broke out.

Magadzi said the grandmother and the mother of the children were woken up by smoke that had filled all the rooms.

"When the two women woke up, the whole house was already full of smoke," said Magadzi.

He said neighbours were woken up by the hysterical screams of the victims trapped in the house as well as those of the two women.

"By the time the police reached the scene, the two children had already been burnt to death.

"The cause of the fire is still unknown but preliminary investigations have revealed that a man was spotted breaking a window of the house and throwing something inside before fleeing the scene," he said.

Magadzi said the house and its contents, including furniture, food and clothes went up in flames. He estimated the damage to be more than R45000.

"We appeal to members of the community to assist us with information so that we can put the culprit behind bars," Magadzi said.