The Witness - - NEWS -

DUR­BAN — The death toll from a fire that de­stroyed dozens of homes at the Fore­man Road set­tle­ment in Dur­ban has risen to three af­ter a third fam­ily mem­ber died in hospi­tal.

The mother of Sisipho Xulu, the two­year­old who was the first vic­tim of the Sun­day blaze that de­stroyed dozens of homes at the set­tle­ment in Clare Es­tate, Dur­ban, suc­cumbed to her in­juries yes­ter­day morn­ing, po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant­Colonel Them­beka Mb­hele said.

This brings the death toll from the fire to three af­ter Sisipho’s fa­ther, Eric Mpanza, died on Mon­day af­ter­noon, also in hospi­tal. Au­thor­i­ties have yet to re­lease the mother’s name. Nearly 1 000 peo­ple were dis­placed in the blaze on Sun­day morn­ing. “Our move­ment will stand with the fam­ily and the com­mu­nity dur­ing this very dif­fi­cult time,” Abahlali baseMjon­dolo head S’bu Zikode said.

Zikode said mem­bers of the move­ment within the com­mu­nity were aim­ing to help re­build the area. “We want to or­gan­ise to fight fu­ture fires to­gether and to work with the fire depart­ment, and to strug­gle against the op­pres­sive con­di­tions that leave some of us to die in shack fires while oth­ers sleep safely at night.”

The eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity was ex­pected to foot the bill for the fu­neral costs of the child and mother, Zikode said. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity will erect a tent as a tem­po­rary shel­ter for res­i­dents.

A fire­fighter was as­saulted and two fire­hoses were van­dalised while fire crews bat­tled the blaze on Sun­day. Sy­den­ham com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rum mem­ber Satish Dhu­pelia said while the fire was be­ing put out on Sun­day some­one had hit one of the fire­men with a crow­bar and “knocked him out”.

The at­tack on res­cue of­fi­cials caused a de­lay in fire­fight­ing. By the time the fire was ex­tin­guished, sev­eral peo­ple needed to be hos­pi­talised.

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