Cape Town -
Three people died and 42 people were left homeless in fires across the city over the weekend.
Anelesiwe Sigwela, 19, and her boyfriend, known only as “Thando”, burnt to death in a shack fire in Taiwan informal settlement, Khayelitsha, on Sunday morning
Her brother, Zukisa Sigwela, who lived close by, said he couldn’t explain how sad he felt.
“At midday (on Saturday) was the last time I saw her. She was at my mom’s place when I went to visit,” he said. Tears spilt down his cheeks as he recalled how he heard screams in the early hours of yesterday.
“People were saying that my sister died in the fire, but I didn’t believe it.
“After they extinguished the fire I went to look at the remains and couldn’t believe that it was her.”
Zukisa said he was close to his younger sister.
Anelesiwe’s sister, Phelakazi Sigwela, said Anelesiwe was well loved by her friends. “She was a bubbly person and she loved her friends.
The last time I saw her on Saturday she was sitting under a tree outside our mom’s place. We were having food and drinks. I just feel so hurt,” Phelakazi said.
Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesman at the Disaster Risk Management Centre, said 16 people were left homeless in the fire.
He added that the victims lived in separate structures that had been encircled by the blaze.
“It is believed that the fire was caused by a candle that had fallen over,” Solomons-Johannes said.
In Parkwood on Saturday, 26-year-old Tyrone Saal died when his house was gutted by fire.
Two adults and four children were left homeless.
On Saturday afternoon, a fire was reported at Mimosa Close, Westridge, in Mitchells Plain, where 14 people lost all their possessions and one woman was treated for smoke inhalation.
During two separate incidents in Mfuleni on Saturday, four structures were destroyed in Luyolo and Mvumvu streets, displacing six people.
Solomons-Johannes said the city’s disaster response teams assisted the fire victims with food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing and building material as well as emergency psychosocial trauma counselling.
Sapa reported that three people, including a toddler, died when their shack caught fire in Lerato Park, Roodepan, yesterday morning.
The owner of the shack said he was at his neighbour’s house when his home was gutted by fire, said Lieutenant Andrea Cloete in a statement.
The man’s girlfriend, 34, their three-year-old daughter and the girlfriend’s 62-year-old mother were inside.
All three died on the scene.
Cloete said that an inquest docket had been opened.