Baby dies, hun­dreds dis­placed in fire

265 fam­i­lies des­ti­tute, 120 shacks burnt down

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA ZWANE

BLACK ash and zinc were the only re­minders of what was once the homes of 265 fam­i­lies who were left dis­placed af­ter a fire en­gulfed the hi­jacked build­ing they were liv­ing in.

On Satur­day night, 120 shacks burnt down and a oneyear-old baby lost his life when the in­door shacks in Marl­boro, Sand­ton, caught fire.

Lit­tle Sim­phiwe Ndin­isa’s fam­ily said the baby died af­ter in­hal­ing smoke from the fire.

His fa­ther Joseph Chauke, 31, told The Star that he had tried all he could to save his sec­ond-born child, but it was too late.

“When I wanted to get into the house I found my el­dest son shout­ing out telling me that there was a fire and that his brother was still in­side the house,” said Chauke.

A dis­traught Chauke ran into the house to save baby Sim­phiwe, re­sult­ing in an in­jury to his head.

Xo­lile Zwane, the baby’s aunt, said: “When I ar­rived here, my sis­ter told me that one child was still in the build­ing and that his fa­ther tried to run into the build­ing to fetch him.”

Ac­cord­ing to Zwane, Chauke came out of the build­ing and fell to the ground, say­ing his son had burnt to death in­side the build­ing.

“I am so hurt be­cause I used to live in the same build­ing. In 2010, the same build­ing had burnt,” said Zwane.

Sim­phiwe’s mother, Nokukhanya Ndin­isa, 24, was over­whelmed by emo­tions and couldn’t stop cry­ing.

City of Joburg MMC for health and so­cial devel­op­ment Dr Mpho Pha­latse went to visit the be­reaved fam­ily. He was told that no one in the fam­ily was em­ployed and that they qual­i­fied for the city’s in­di­gent burial scheme.

“Our so­cial work­ers have come through to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion, and I can say with cer­tainty that we will as­sist with the fu­neral ar­range­ments,” said Pha­latse.

Ac­cord­ing to Pha­latse there is sus­pi­cion the fire may have started due to an elec­tric stove.

The po­lice were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

“The City of Joburg will en­sure that they have ser­vices. We have re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion from Jo­han­nes­burg Wa­ter that there are 30 chem­i­cal toi­lets and JoJo tanks.

“The land it­self is an Eskom area, but we have con­tacted City Power to fa­cil­i­tate with Eskom for the pro­vi­sion of elec­tric­ity on the tem­po­rary site,” said Pha­latse.

Gaut­eng MEC for Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Paul Mashatile was sad­dened by the news of an­other death due to fire which burnt an il­le­gally oc­cu­pied fac­tory.

Mashatile said: “I am dev­as­tated that a young life has been lost as a re­sult of fire. This is one life too many that has been lost and I ex­press our heart­felt con­do­lences to the be­reaved fam­ily. I also wish the fa­ther of the child a speedy re­cov­ery.

“We have ini­ti­ated re­lief ef­forts with the Pro­vin­cial Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Cen­tre (PDMC) mo­bil­is­ing de­part­ments like Home Af­fairs, Gaut­eng Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Ed­u­ca­tion and So­cial Devel­op­ment and the City of Joburg to join in the re­lief ef­forts,” Mashatile said.

“An ini­tial needs anal­y­sis has been con­ducted, and 120 fam­i­lies have been dis­placed.

“While a site for a tem­po­rary shel­ter is be­ing iden­ti­fied, the PDMC is dis­tribut­ing tents and blan­kets, while food is be­ing served to those af­fected,” he said.

“We ap­peal to ci­ti­zens, NGOs and busi­ness to also lend a hand to al­le­vi­ate the plight of the dis­placed fam­i­lies.”


We have ini­ti­ated re­lief ef­forts with dis­as­ter cen­tre


DEV­AS­TA­TION: A woman washes her laun­dry out­side a flat which caught fire in Marl­boro on Satur­day night. One-year-old Sim­phiwe Ndin­isa died due to smoke in­hala­tion and about 1 000 peo­ple have been dis­placed af­ter 120 shacks caught fire.

SOR­ROW: Fam­ily mem­bers Lungile Ndin­isa, Zama Kunene, Andile Ndin­isa and Nokukhanya Ndin­isa grieve for Sim­phiwe Ndin­isa. A tem­po­rary shel­ter is be­ing iden­ti­fied, while tents and blan­kets are be­ing dis­trib­uted by dis­as­ter man­age­ment for the fam­i­lies af­fected.

Sim­phiwe Ndin­isa

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