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Durban - A Verulam woman died when part of her home collapsed as she was having a cup of coffee on the veranda on Wednesday.
Shireen Sayed, 45, fell face down and a nail pierced her head, according to Roseatta Bhabha, a tenant who said she saw what happened.
According to Bhabha, when the house started to collapse, Sayed tried to escape.
“We heard her screaming for her husband, probably three times, and we ran to the front thinking she had gone inside,” she said.
Sayed’s younger sister, Sangitha Balaram, said when she arrived an hour later, Sayed was still trapped under the roof and walls of the veranda.
She said it took rescue services officers 20 minutes to remove the bricks on top of Sayed.
Her sister’s face did not have any scratches, but her chest and head were bleeding.
She said the house had been built 40 years ago by a private builder.
Sayed’s husband, Aslam, had just left for hospital to collect his medication.
Bhabha said Aslam had spoken about rebuilding the house, but had not begun.
She described Sayed as outspoken and straightforward.
“Even though I was a tenant, she always helped me, I will miss those mornings when we sat in the yard and talked.”
Sayed did not have children. She and her husband had five tenants, who occupied outside rooms.
After Sayed’s body was removed, police barricaded the house and ordered that no one enter until they had completed their investigations.
Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said that the Verulam police had opened an inquest docket.
“A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death,” he said.