Durban – On Tuesday, the KwaZulu-Natal government visited the Mthembu family who lost seven members in a house fire over the weekend. Members of the Umzumbe Local Municipality and Ugu District Municipality visited the family on Monday and provided them with aid.
The Umzumbe Local Municipality said a delegation of councillors led by mayor Bongani Nyuswa visited the Mthembu homestead.
It said the fire was reported late on Saturday and rescue teams were dispatched.
Bongekile Mthembu, 37, Noluthando Mthembu, 9, Anathi Mthembu, 9, and 2-week-old Zanokuhle Mthembu, two weeks, died in the fire. Onge Mthembu, 2, died in hospital on Sunday while Thobeka Mthembu, 31, and Ayabonga Mthembu, 9, died on Monday.
The local municipality said it, along with the Department of Social Development and other stakeholders, had been on the ground trying to help the traumatised family and their neighbours.
It said that a team of social workers had been assigned to provide support.
Mayor Bongani Nyuswa asked for priests to pray for the family and the community.
“We don’t know what happened. It’s unclear what caused this,” Nyuswa said.
“We feel for the family and we hope that we as the government can assist the family so that in the end, the victims can be buried accordingly.”
Ugu District Municipality mayor Phumlile Mthiyane said they brought bedding, food and other items to help the family.
The Ugu District Municipality reported that the Ugu Disaster Management and Fire Fighting Services doused the flames and helped to remove the bodies of some of the victims.
According to the municipality, one of the disaster management officials said: “The situation wasn’t good when we arrived. We helped put out the fire and tried to help save those who were inside but they had already died. Others were rushed to the hospital.”
The municipality said the family told Mthiyane and her council members that they were there when the house started burning but they did not see it because they were preparing for a memorial service.
Mthiyane, accompanied by councillor Matho Shozi, the chief whip of the councillors, gave the family money to help with funeral arrangements.