Johannes and Joyce Lebudi in front of their Morula View, Mabopane house, which was gutted by fire on January 3. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Johannes and Joyce Lebudi in front of their Morula View, Mabopane house, which was gutted by fire on January 3. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Mabopane couple who lost home in fire need help with temporary shelter

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Jan 18, 2021

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Pretoria - After they lost their home in Morula View, Mabopane, in a fire, Johannes and Joyce Lebudi are hoping for some kind of a temporary shelter.

“We are grateful for the great help and support we’ve received from the community during this difficult time,” Lebudi said. “However, if only we could get assistance in the form of a temporary shelter so we could at least house ourselves safely, our lives could be so much better.

“Now, when it rains we are exposed, and water comes into the one room left that we use.”

The fire occurred on January 3 and was caused by an electrical fault. No one was home at the time - Lebudi had gone to a funeral and his wife to hospital with a severe case of arthritis. Their three children were also not at home.

“My husband received a call from a neighbour telling him that the house was on fire and ... and even though they were trying to put out the fire with buckets and hose pipes, they were battling to extinguish the flames,” Joyce said. Johannes rushed to the scene.

Joyce added: “When I found the house burnt when I came home, I was so traumatised ... We lost all we had, and on top of that we both do not work and have no means to rebuild the house. I am also not well and cannot do much. I feel so stressed and very depressed about the whole matter.

“When I got the news I just wanted the earth to swallow me. I asked myself what wrong I had done for such to happen to me and my family, looking at my husband’s condition and my condition. What are we going to do?

“If we could work, we could try and get a loan, but now we have no avenue. Our children are also not coping. They are also traumatised and worried how everything will work out.”

Johannes said he had been struggling to sleep since the day of the fire.

“I sleep for two hours, only to wake up and think. We do not work and I only receive a disability grant, which is not much. We lost everything. The whole house was burnt and only one room survived the fire, but it is covered in soot.

“We have nothing. For a simple thing such as boiling water for tea we have to knock at neighbours’ houses and bother them. I have had to use tins to boil water. I spend nights crying and wondering what we could do and how we’ll get through,” he said.

A community forum formed to assist the family has been unlucky. Joyce said they needed clothes, food and toiletries to sustain themselves as they recover, as well as assistance to rebuild their house.

“We have experienced so much love from the community and we are very grateful. In this situation we just ask for any assistance from anyone out there.”

A community member who has been assisting the family, Monde Vilakazi, said the Lebudi family faced a dire situation and she and others in the community were concerned about the family’s situation as they were both unwell.

“They are going through something very unfortunate and we are doing everything we can as a community to get assistance. We've gone to different avenues to get assistance but have not been getting any luck. This family have been sleeping in this burnt house since the 3rd, and it has been raining and they have been here.

“To us as the community, we are pained and cannot imagine the trauma that they are going through, and this happens at the worst possible time during a pandemic when a family should be safe and secure,” said Vilakazi.

Pretoria News

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