Cape Times

Foul play suspected in tragic shack fires

- Sandiso Phaliso

AN MFULENI couple and two cousins in Khayelitsh­a died when their homes caught fire on Saturday and yesterday, respective­ly.

In both fires, residents tried to save the deceased from the flames, but with no luck.

The two Khayelitsh­a cousins, Luxolo Mthi, 24, and Aphindile Mashalabe, 18, died in their backyard shack, where the fire is believed to have started.

Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said it was alleged that the fire started inside a backyard shack and spread to the main house, where the owner of the main house, Bukiwe Mashalabe, was asleep with two children, a six-year-old and a 10-year-old.

Traut said Bukiwe escaped with the children.

He said the cause of the fire was unknown and an inquest docket was being investigat­ed.

The deceased’s cousin, Lusizo Mashalabe, 25, said it was just before 2am when Bukiwe was awakened by screams from the shacks, and when she looked out, she saw flames coming from the shack where the pair lived.

“The cause of the fire is a mystery because it started in the shack even though my cousins were not using any candles or cooking,” said Lusizo.

“It is a very unfortunat­e incident because Aphindile (deceased) has been in Cape Town for a month to spend his holidays, and now this,” he said.

In Mfuleni, the fire claimed the lives of Onke Bethiwe, 33, and his girlfriend Melan Cupido, 34, after they were trapped inside the house they shared.

Their nine-year-old daughter Anathi Bethiwe survived, as she was outside the house when the fire started.

Bethiwe’s younger sister Vuyiseka Bethiwe, 31, said she suspected foul play because Anathi told their family that she saw a man throwing a petrol bomb inside the house before it was engulfed in flames.

“We have come to understand that Onke was involved in a fight earlier with another man, and the man came for revenge and set the house alight,” said Vuyiseka, who lives on the same street as the deceased’s house.

“The family are saddened and heartbroke­n and it will take time to come to terms with his death,” she said.

Traut said an inquest docket was opened for investigat­ion.

Man ‘bent on revenge’ was seen throwing a petrol bomb inside house

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa