News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Two children die in shack fire

Two children who were locked inside burnt to death when their shack caught alight.

The children’s 22-year-old mother Thandiswa Kolanisi was taken to hospital suffering from shock.

Police have opened an inquest into the fire but residents blame the mother for the deaths of her children because she locked them inside her shack and want police to open a murder investigation.

Residents said it was not the first time that Thandiswa had locked the children inside the two-roomed shack. She locked the children in whenever she went out.

One resident, who only identified herself as Thami, said “I joked and warned her not to lock the children inside the shack as whatever that could happen, like what what happened now, would be a danger to the chidren, but she was arrogant”.

“She would lock the children in the shack and leave them unattended,” she said.

Even the neighbours tried to talk to her about the dangers of leaving the children on their own, but she would not listen,” said Nomathamsanqa.

Another resident Aphile Ngamlana, 38, said she was not surprised by what had happened and enchoed Thami’s comments that community members had constantly warned Thandiswa not to lock the children inside the shack.

The children, Siphelele, 6, and Lathita, 3, were burnt beyond recognition.

“I heard the children screaming and when people got there to help there was nothing they could do as the house was already in flames.  It was too late when the neighbours arrived to help.  “We watched helplessly as the big fire ate everything up,” said Ngamlana.

The police and the neigbours have no idea what might have started the fire as the shack in question did not have electricity, but community members suspect that Thandiswa might have left parrafin unattended.

The family was too distraught to speak to West Cape News but said that a family meeting would be held this weekend to talk through the details of the fire.

Police spokesperson November Filander confirmed the incident and said an inquest had been opened into it.  Police had not yet decided whether or not to charge the mother with manslaughter or murder.

“The circumstances surrounding this discovery are being investigated,” he said. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Aphile Ngamlana, Lathita, Nomathamsanqa, November Filander, Siphelele, Thami, Thandiswa Kolanisi

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