DUTYWA - Five people died when their home caught alight in Dutywa, Eastern Cape police said on Saturday.
It was alleged that the five people were sleeping inside a "family café" at Mputhi Village, Dutywa when a fire broke out at about 4am on Saturday morning, Captain Jackson Manatha said.
Four of the deceased were family members - an 18-year-old woman, a 14-year-old boy, a seven-year-old boy, and a three-year-old girl - and the fifth victim was another 18-year-old woman, a family friend.
The cause of the fire had not yet been established. Eastern Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga expressed shock at the incident and offered condolences to both families. She had instructed Dutywa police "to properly investigate the case and leave no stone unturned".
Ntshinga had also noted with concern the "tendency of family members who die in numbers at their homes in fire". An inquest docket had been opened for further investigation by Dutywa police detectives, Manatha said.