Mdantsane girl, 4, dies as home goes up in flames

Sandiso Phaliso

A four-year-old girl died when her family home in Mdantsane’s NU13 burnt down on Monday night.

The girl’s mother and her three siblings escaped, though most of their belongings were destroyed.

The mother, Funeka Gawula, 38, said a paraffin stove burst into flames while the family was cooking.

A distraught Gawula said she was also in mourning for her mother, Nosisana, who died of natural causes on November 12.

Gawula said five people in the house had run outside because the flames were so high.

Moments later they realised Lesego was still inside, but the blaze was so ferocious there was nothing that could be done to save her.

“The last words to come out of her were ‘mama’ because I called her name when I could not see her among the survivors and she responded.“When I called again there was silence,” the heartbroken mother said.

Lesego had a fever and was asleep in bed.

“The house can be rebuilt and furniture bought again, but the life we have lost is never coming back,” she said.

BCM mayor Xola Pakati visited the Gawula family to assess the damage and see what he could do to help.

“Our intention is to provide temporary relief to the distressed family, build a temporary structure — which is being erected — and provide groceries.

“We are working with the provincial human settlement department for a permanent solution,” Pakati said.

“The immediate challenge is that documentation such as IDs and birth certificates have been burnt in the house.”He said BCM would help with the burial if the family requested assistance.

Gawula said: “We are sleeping with relatives, and some of us with friends.”
She said they were poor and were struggling to find the money to bury Lesego.
“We have nothing except the clothes we were wearing at the time of the fire. We lost everything.”

Community leader Nozibele Ntanjana said neighbours had rushed to the house but it was already engulfed in flames.Nothing could be done at the scene, but the community had stepped in later.
He said: “There are some people who have donated clothing and men living on this street are helping with building a temporary structure. Everyone is doing their bit to assist.”

Girl. 4, dies as home goes up in flames. 



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