VUSI Masuku, the man believed to have burnt his three children alive in an attempted suicide, has died in hospital from his own burns.
His girlfriend and mother of his children, Khosi Hadebe – who was also critically injured in the Wednesday-morning blaze in Zola, Soweto – remains in a coma, and her family are asking the public to help get her treatment.
Masuku and Hadebe, who were transported to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in a stable condition after the horrifying incident, were reported to be stable throughout the day.
But last night Masuku succumbed to his injuries.
For his half-brother, Sydwell Masilela, the past two days have been traumatic.
The community threatened to kill Masuku for locking his entire family and himself in their home and setting it alight two days ago, but now Masilela is asking for their prayers and any donations to help treat Hadebe and to bury his nephews.
“My whole family is in shock, we just don’t know what to do,” said a despondent Masilela yesterday.
Neighbours said they had suspected events might turn tragic because shortly before midnight on Tuesday they heard screams coming from the house.
Several neighbours confirmed that the children’s parents had been arguing, yelling so loudly that the details of their dispute could be heard by people in the area.
Hadebe had apparently given food to the father’s estranged brother. In an alleged drunken rage, Masuku – her boyfriend of more than 10 years – apparently attacked her, believing she was having an affair with his brother.
Neighbours responded to the screams, knocking on his door and telling him to calm down.
It took almost half an hour, but eventually the man appeared to settle down and the neighbours returned home.
On Wednesday morning, people at the scene said the 31-year-old man left the house shortly afterwards and returned before 1am.
Masuku reportedly bought a can of petrol which he allegedly used to douse his children, Hadebe and himself.
He had locked the door with a large, steel padlock from the inside before lighting a match, causing the fire.
All three boys, Mpumi, 3, Sanele, 8, and Xolani, 10, were burnt beyond recognition and died in the blaze.
Anyone who wishes to send their support to the family can e-mail [email protected] tions.com