TARGETED: The house that was petrol bombed in Westbank. Picture: Rusana Philander
Cape Town - Over the course of a month, six houses have been petrol bombed in Westbank, near Delft, in an apparent attempt by gangs to illegally take over homes. In the latest incident a 58-year-old grandmother was killed and three of her grandchildren sustained serious injuries.

Two months ago another woman was killed when a petrol bomb was thrown at her house in Westbank.

In the latest incident on Saturday morning, Magdalene Patience died due to smoke inhalation. Her grandchildren Abigail Patience, 11, Farron November, 8, and Dante Engelbrecht, 4, are still in the hospital. The 3-year-old, Hope November, was unharmed. A woman who was a friend of the dead woman and who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “The incident happened at about 4:30am on Saturday morning, when someone threw a petrol bomb at the house.

When we got to the house there were flames everywhere. I spoke to Magdalene through one of the windows of the room that exploded in flames, and asked her to hand me the children through the window. But she said she couldn’t because of the flames. One of the children screamed that their bed was on fire. One of the men who had came to help kicked in the front door and rushed inside the house through the fire. This way they got everyone out of the house.

“It was amazing how the young men and older ones put their own lives at risk to save this family. Magdalene was still alive when she was brought outside the burning house - she died just before the ambulance arrived. She was a God-fearing lady who was a mom to everyone. She was originally from Knysna and was in church every Sunday. How they could’ve done this to her, I don’t know.”

Lillian Andrews from the Westbank Neighbourhood Watch said the community was fed up with gang violence. She said that within a month six houses had been petrol bombed. She said gangs were targeting the houses because they wanted to occupy them “so they can sell drugs from them”.

“They do not care who gets killed in the process. We have started the House of Hope Revolution in Westbank for young people. So there is no excuse for them to become gangsters.

“We have a substance abuse prevention programme.

“A lot of youngsters who have attended this programme are no longer gangsters.”

Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said a case of murder had been opened.

“No one has been arrested,” she said.