Two killed in Soweto house fire on Christmas Eve

The charred Orlando East home set alight on Christmas Eve. Picture: Supplied

The charred Orlando East home set alight on Christmas Eve. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 25, 2023


Gauteng police are investigating a case of murder after two people were charred to death when their Orlando East home was set alight on Christmas Eve.

It is alleged that two suspects, one of them armed with a gun and wearing a mask, sprayed the house with petrol as they demanded a car.

They found three occupants in the house, tied them up in the bedrooms and set the living room alight.

One of the women managed to escape, while Palesa Mogotsi , 43, and her mother Martha, 70, both died in the fire.

Joburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Xoli Khumalo confirmed fire services were dispatched to the area at about 9.35pm on Sunday night, where they found a five-bedroom house on fire.

“Two people unfortunately succumbed to death in the incident: (2 females estimated to be about 70 and 43 years).

“One other patient was transported to Baragwanath Hospital. Gauteng EMS made the declaration of death, while the SAPS and JMPD were on scene.

“The cause of incident is under investigation by both SAPS and EMS inspectors,” said Khumalo.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo confirmed police were investigating a case of arson, a double murder and attempted murder.

“Police are investigating circumstances that led to the burning of a house in Orlando East, Soweto, where two females aged 70 and 43 were burned beyond recognition on the evening of Sunday, December 24.

“Police responded to a complaint of a house that was on fire in Orlando East. After the fire was extinguished by the fire fighters, police discovered bodies of two women who were burned beyond recognition.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the third victim, who is a female, was taken to hospital with burn wounds,” said Masondo.

A neighbour who spoke to IOL, but asked to remain anonymous fearing for their own life, said they were now living in fear as they did not know who the next target was.

She said in the past two weeks, and as recently as Thursday, the Mogotsi home had been attacked with stones by unknown people who threw stones at the window.

“We are really hurt and frightened by this, we are scared and it has made Christmas sad for this community.

“We don’t understand why this is happening because they said to them they must apologize, but nobody understands for what, we don’t know who did this and why.

“We want the police to find them quickly and we hope someone who knows something will help the police with this case,” she said.

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