Man dies in second blaze at Jika Joe

2014-09-08 00:00

A SECOND fire in just over a week has added to the trail of destruction in the Jika Joe informal settlement, leaving a 32-year-old man dead.

It is suspected that a candle that fell over caused the fire.

It is alleged that Mzwandile Sithole had been out partying on Friday and only came home in the early hours of Saturday morning. He worked at Moosa’s Discount Warehouse on Manchester Road.

According to a paramedic on the scene, his friends took him to his shack. “They left him around 4 am with a candle burning.”

His sister, Smangele Makhaye, said her brother enjoyed drinking with his friend. “My brother was loved by community members,” she said.

Dr Ray Ngcobo, a deputy municipal manager for Msunduzi Municipality, described this latest fire as a catastrophe.

“Last week Friday we had a 189 shacks that burnt down, which left a 450 people with no homes,” he said.

“This time there were about 70 shacks that had burnt down, which meant that already there are more than 100 people who need to be provided for.

“We will have to seal off those temporary housing units that are 80% completed, and we will allocate two families per unit,” he said.

Ngcobo said they were going to deal with “shacklords” who were demanding rent from people who were occupying the municipal tents and claimed to be the ones who were going to place them in the temporary housing units.

Community member Thembinkosi Magagula thanked the fire department for its quick response and the Msunduzi Disaster Management for always responding when they are in crisis.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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