Pretoria - A shack fire at Jeffsville informal settlement in Atteridgeville claimed the life of 32-year-old Tsietsi Ledwaba during the early hours of Sunday.
The incident left the community reeling in shock and disbelief.
Community leader Samuel Masilela said he was woken up by residents at about 3am, and they told him that there was a shack fire and suspected that there was someone inside.
“I rushed there and found that the fire was almost put out by the residents. I then called the police who came to take statements. It was at that moment that we realised that there was a body inside,” Masilela said.
Masilela said the shack belonged to a family of four that included Ledwaba, his parents and a cousin.
“It was believed that the fire started in his room and when they were trying to put it out, they had thought he was not there. The community looked for him everywhere, from his usual hang-out spots to friends, and they did not find him. He was found in his parent’s room under the bed.”
Masilela said that was when the trauma for the community started. He said Ledwaba’s family had left for a few days prior to the incident.
“His parents had gone to Limpopo for family matters, they heard about the unfortunate incident while they were that side. Unfortunately they lost their son and all possessions in that fire.
“The police asked where will the family sleep when they come back given that the shack was totally destroyed and there are no community halls in the area. Luckily a resident offered to lend a helping hand.”
Mother of the deceased, Asina Ledwaba, said she was deeply heartbroken by the incident, and described it as “something she had not experienced before”.
City of Tshwane Emergency Services spokesperson Charles Mabaso said they could not find any records of a shack fire incident in Atteridgeville during the weekend.
“The incident was never reported to the Tshwane Emergency Services and as such we couldn’t respond to it.
“We would like to urge residents to report fire incidents on our toll-free number 107, to enable us to respond appropriately and co-ordinate other forms of relief as may be required.”