Fire devastates family

2015-06-10 06:00
DISTRESSED: Matuka Khanye, sobbing uncontrollably to the devastating effect to have her house and all what she worked for years destroyed by fire, allegedly started by boyfriend of one of her daughters.
Photos: Teboho Setena

DISTRESSED: Matuka Khanye, sobbing uncontrollably to the devastating effect to have her house and all what she worked for years destroyed by fire, allegedly started by boyfriend of one of her daughters. Photos: Teboho Setena

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A DEVASTATED family of eight are rebuilding their lives after having lost everything when a fire ripped through their four-roomed state-built house on Sunday, 31 May, in New-stands, east of Thabong in Welkom.

The house belongs to Matuka Khanye, mother of five daughters and two grandchildren.

Khanye has been the breadwinner, making a living through a mobile catering business run from a fully-equipped mobile caravan.

Khanye’s caravan, which was equipped with gas stoves, a fridge and other essentials for catering, was destroyed beyond recognition in the blaze.

The distraught woman says the caravan was her only means of generating an income to provide for her seven depen­dants.

Two of the dependants are daughters in high school. The other dependants include two grandsons, of four years old and two months old respectively.

The entire family has been left destitute with nothing, all together in a shack and struggling to make ends meet in the icy winter conditions.

They only have left what they were wearing on the night when the fire ­destroyed their home.

The unbearable ordeal is due to a devastating fire, allegedly started by the 29-year-old Sibusiso Willi, the boyfriend of one of the victims.

Willi allegedly went on a rampage, setting alight the house and caravan, as well as breaking the windows of the house.

He appeared in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 3 June, facing a charge of arson. He is expected to appear again on Thursday (11/06).

The incident saw a four-year-old boy admitted to a local hospital with severe burn wounds.

An emotionally-drained Khanye said a brave neighbour saved the life of the boy, Bophelo, pulling him from the flames on the ill-fated night of 31 May.

The man pulled Khanye’s grandson through the window of the bedroom while the fire raged inside.

“The child was sleeping alone when the fire broke out,” says Khanye.

She says they heard the loud noise of the boy crying from the bedroom, which was engulfed in smoke and flames.

“Bophelo went to sleep early and we forgot about him in the wake of the commotion that followed the vicious attack on my daughter, Modulelwa.

“He would have been dead and burnt to ashes if it were not for him crying so loud and the bravery of one of the residents in our street.”

The house has been reduced to a charred frame.

The family is appealing for help in the form of the donation of essentials to start rebuilding their lives.

Those willing to help can phone Khanye on 083-695-3792 or Express Goldfields andamp; NFS on 057-357-1304

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