Alfred Khoza and Tinyiko Chauke in front of their home in Soshanguve that burnt down with their three children inside. Only one child survived. Picture: Jacques Naude/ANA
Pretoria - Minutes after Tinyiko Chauke, 25, and Alfred Khoza, 23, buried their little girls on Wednesday, community members were up in arms waiting for the couple to return.

Without being given a chance to mourn their children residents at Nkandla informal settlement near Soshanguve extension 6 wanted to beat up the couple as they said they were to blame for their daughters' deaths.

They accused the pair of being reckless and irresponsible for leaving their children to burn while they were out drinking at a nearby tavern. “We were shocked to come back to a group of disgruntled people. Initially when we saw the group from a distance, we thought they had gathered to support us during this time of mourning, but that was not the case,” Chauke said.

She told the Pretoria News that the group demanded they tell the truth of what happened on the night of the fire. “They could not even give us some time or space to mourn our children properly, all they wanted was to get violent with us. But we are thankful to Cope representatives who managed to calm them down and stop from harassing us," she said.

One community member who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We want them to explain what really happened to those children. What kind of a parents leave children on their own with a lit candle inside a shack? We suspect these two knew exactly what they were doing when they left their shack that night; no responsible parent would do what they did."

This comes after the couple’s shack went up in flames in the early hours of Christmas Day. Residents alleged that the couple left the children on their own with a lit candle which they suspected set fire to something that caused the shack to go up in flames. The couple had three children (two girls and a boy); Promise, 1, Gudani, 4 and Hardlife, 7. Unfortunately Gudani died hours later at George Mukhari Academic Hospital, while the other two were still fighting for their lives.

A day later Promise also died of burn wounds. Though the couple were accused of being irresponsible, they were adamant that they did not leave any candle or paraffin stove lit.

Sad about the burial process, Khoza said as a parent, he was heartbroken by how his children were buried. “We buried our children like they were nothing; even a dog is not buried that way. The councillor told us not to worry about the burial arrangements as everything would be taken care of.

"At the 11th hour, we did not have a tent, chairs, no food for those who came to mourn with us and no family car to take us to the cemetery. There was only a hearse, nothing else. To make things worse there were no coffin lowering cords at the cemetery. People literally had to kneel on the sides of the graves to be able to place the coffins properly,” Khoza explained.

He said he would greatly miss his two girls and wished a speedy recovery to their only son, Hardlife. The shack is completely burnt down, with nothing but enamel mugs and plates, paraffin stoves, bits and pieces of clothing and bed springs to prove there was once a bed in the house.

Pretoria News