Neighbours Beltsazer van der Merwe and Tshepo Meremi outside the burnt Neething home in Danville. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
Neighbours Beltsazer van der Merwe and Tshepo Meremi outside the burnt Neething home in Danville. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Tshwane blamed for Danville house fire that left child in ICU

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published May 7, 2021

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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has been blamed for a house fire in Danville that left a 9-year-old in ICU at Kalafong Hospital.

The child’s family used gas because they could not afford to pay the minimum amount of money required to have their electricity reconnected.

It is believed the fire was caused by the gas. The residents yesterday gathered at the Neething family home to express their anger at the incident which left three adults and a 17-year-old homeless.

Neighbour Beltsazer van der Merwe, speaking for the family, yesterday, said the victims depended on a grant and only started using gas after the municipality disconnected their electricity because they did not have the R6 000 required for rates and taxes.

However, City chief of staff Jordan Griffiths said at this point it was important to note that the actual cause of the fire had not yet been established by

the City of Tshwane Emergency Services. He said mayor Randall Williams visited the family to see how the City could provide them with social support.

Griffiths said: “It was established that this particular home was in arrears significantly, and there were previous attempts to try to assist them.

“Unfortunately the City has a responsibility to collect rates and taxes which go towards providing service delivery.”

Another resident, Tshepo Moremi, said: “It is disappointing that while we are in this Covid-19 pandemic, the City refuses residents the opportunity to make payment arrangements without a minimum requirement that could be 60% of the arrears and they cannot afford that.

“This family was about to finish that R6 000 and then this happened. We are very upset right now because a child is in hospital. People who are willing to pay are so much better than people who are just stealing electricity without contributing to the City’s revenue collection. This family has been collecting recyclable material and they raised R5 800. They were just R200 short.”

Van der Merwe, who assisted the family to get out of the burning house, said: “When I got inside I found the 17-year-old boy on top of his 9-year-old sister, trying to protect her.

“It is so heartbreaking that she still suffered burns. The father is in a wheelchair and the grandmother is asthmatic. They needed help.

“This municipality needs to get its stuff together because they are billing us on estimates and threatening us. My family has had to borrow money to make a payment arrangement and we were also disconnected”

Pretoria News

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