'Parents use schools as dumping place'

The three Ngubeni sibings and their cousin were killed in a fire at the weekend.
The three Ngubeni sibings and their cousin were killed in a fire at the weekend.
Image: Naledi Shange

Emfundisweni Primary School principal Thembakazi Giyama told Alexandra residents at a memorial service of four children who died in a house fire early on Sunday that there were parents who do not care about the well-being of their children.

Children from Emfundisweni broke down in tears barely 10 minutes into the service and had to be taken out of the Thusong Youth Centre in the township's 12th Avenue.

One of the children who died in the fire, Mbalenhle Fihlani, was a grade R pupil at the school.

Giyama said parents dump children at school without food or uniform.

"You are dumping the children [for us to take care of them]," said Giyama.

"You will find that children do not [even] have underwear or [a] school uniform. We [really] have challenges with child negligence. God did not take Mbali by mistake, he saw what she was going through and he thought [it would be better if] he took her."

Fihlani, 5, Nhlanhla Ngubeni, 7, Sandile Ngubeni, 4, and Amukelani Ngubeni, 2, died after a fire, thought to have been caused by a heater, ripped through their two-roomed home. The children were left unsupervised as their mothers allegedly went out drinking at a local shebeen.

Bongiwe Ngubeni, 31, and Nelisiwe Fihlani, 28, appeared briefly in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court on Tuesday facing charges of culpable homicide, child abuse, child neglect and deliberate neglect of a child. They were remanded in jail until their next court appearance on Friday next week.

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