Nolukholo Mhaga lost her two kids after her house caught fire. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA).
Nolukholo Mhaga lost her two kids after her house caught fire. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA).

Heartache for Cape Town mother who lost two children in shack fire

By Siyabonga Kalipa Time of article published Feb 27, 2021

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Nolukholo Mhaga lost her two kids after her house caught fire. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA).

Cape Town - A mother of seven could only manage to save two of her children when their Crossroads shack caught fire in the early hours of Friday morning.

Cape Town Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse confirmed the deaths of Andikhusele Mhaga, 5, her brother Alunamda Mhaga, 3, and adult Mzwamadoda Dwayi, 31.

He said they received an emergency call at about 5.30am alerting them that an informal structure was alight in the Thabo Mbeki Informal Settlement, on the corner of Symphony Way and Govan Mbeki Road.

“Gugulethu’s Fire and Rescue Service was first on the scene and firefighters were told that there were people missing,” he said.

Carelse added they managed to extinguish the fire just after 6am and found the bodies after searching the property.

He said the cause of the fire was unknown and the scene was handed over to the SAPS.

Mother of two children, Nolukholo Mhaga, said Dwayi was a friend of hers who had asked for a place to sleep.

“My friend came knocking while we were sleeping asking for a place to sleep because he had been fighting with his sister,” she said.

Mhaga said Dwayi’s sister came to check up on them and then she left, the next thing, there was smoke in her shack, with fire coming from the door.

She said two of her children do not stay with her and that the oldest was not at home when the fire broke out.

“I was sleeping with my four children, the next thing I saw was smoke everywhere and I managed to grab two of my children and asked my friend to come out with the other two,” she said.

Mhaga said she kept on shouting, calling Dwayi to come out with the children but he did not respond until there was no way of going in the shack because the fire became too strong.

The distraught mother said she lost everything in the fire and had to borrow the nightgown she was wearing from neighbours.

She said it is going to be difficult to start everything from scratch because she is unemployed.

“I don’t know how to feel I still can’t believe I lost my children and everything I owned,” she said.

Mhaga said she is unemployed and was dependent on the social grant of two of her children and she doesn’t know where she will get money to bury them.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said a death inquest case has been opened.

“A 31-year-old man and two children aged 5 and 3 died in the fire, the cause of the fire is still to be determined and no foul expected at this stage,” he said.

Community leader Mila Mpayipheli said they do not know what started the fire.

“We hardly ever have fires here but like any other informal settlement we too need houses to end deaths caused by fire,” she said.

Weekend Argus

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