KZN MECs to visit burnt orphanage

2010-02-10 10:55

DURBAN – KwaZulu-Natal social development and health MECs will

visit the orphanage in eNgogo outside Newcastle today where 11 people, eight of

them children, burnt to death.

“The MEC for social development (Meshack Radebe) will be at the

orphanage today at 1pm,” said Radebe’s spokesman Mandla Ngema.

Radebe will be accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni


Yesterday, the KwaZulu-Natal department of social development said

15 people had burnt to death in the fire at the Hope in Christ Home at around


“Yesterday details were sketchy. We can confirm today that 11

people burnt to death not 15,” Ngema said today.

Nine children were hospitalised.

Mfuneni Kubheka, 55, who was at the scene told The Mercury

newspaper that this was the most horrific sight he had ever seen.

Kubheka said on his arrival at the orphanage, he found two children

running around hysterically with cries of help being heard from every


Superintendent Jay Naicker said police were called to the orphanage

around 6am yesterday.

He said fire investigators from Pretoria had been called to

investigate the cause of fire.

The Mercury reported that one of the victims was a three-week-old


Sarah Holland, who ran the orphanage, gathered the children in a

room to escape the flames, then helped them out of the only window without

burglar bars.

Kubheka helped her rescue nine children from the fire.

When the ninth child came out, Holland collapsed and died

apparently of smoke inhalation, The Mercury reported.

“Maybe it is better that she (Sarah Holland) went this way because

the thought of being unable to save the other children would have probably

killed her,” the paper reported Holland’s daughter, Diane Peterson, as


The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but it is

believed to have started in the lounge of the house.

Sniffer dogs were brought to the scene to search for the remains,

but nothing was found by last night, the Mercury reported.

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