Children killed in fire to finally be buried more than a month after blaze

2018-07-18 08:43
This is the burnt out bed on which the remains of Zaythoon and Zaynura Brandt were found. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

This is the burnt out bed on which the remains of Zaythoon and Zaynura Brandt were found. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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More than a month after two Mitchells Plain children were killed in a fire which ripped through their home, the siblings will finally be buried.

Ward councillor Joan Woodman said the mayor's office would pay for the burial of Zaythoon Brandt, 8 months, and Zaynoora Brandt, 2 years old, because the family could not afford to.

Their funeral is expected to take place on July 24.

The girls burnt to death on June 12. Little Zaythoon's remains were found sprawled over her baby sister after the flames had been doused, as if she had been protecting her.

The children's mother, Tashleema Brandt and her boyfriend Cameron Adams, face charges of culpable homicide. It is alleged that the children were left by themselves and were alone when the fire broke out in the early hours of that morning.

READ: Couple appear in court after 2 girls burn to death while home alone

Woodman said the provincial Department of Social Development had paid for DNA testing to be conducted. This was delayed as Brandt had allegedly fled after returning to the Colorado Park fire scene.

She has since been arrested and charged. Last week, she was released on R500 bail as the National Prosecuting Authority did not oppose bail, saying there were no grounds to keep her in custody.

The court postponed Adams' bail application. The State intended to oppose his release on bail on the basis that he had a pending case of rape and could attempt to flee.

Woodman said Adams' mother had hoped her son would be released so that he could attend the children's funeral.

Adams struggled with a tik (methamphetamine) addiction and had allegedly stolen his mother Eleanor's cellphone the night before the incident.

She told News24 she believed he had taken it to a nearby drug house as he told her he needed R30 to get it back.

Adams and his girlfriend had left in the early hours of the morning to go and retrieve the stolen goods, Eleanor had said, despite her telling her son not to leave as she was exhausted and didn't trust herself to stay awake and keep an eye on the girls.

By the time Eleanor and husband realised there was a blaze in their backyard and neighbours attempted to extinguish the flames, it was already too late for the siblings.

According to police, Adams is not the biological father of the girls. But Eleanor denied this on Tuesday, saying that the DNA results stated that Zaythoon was 100% her grandchild while the results for Zaynoora was 94%.

"For me, there is no doubt," she insisted.

Eleanor said she did not want to speak to the media as she and her family were going through a "difficult time", but confirmed she did not know Brandt's whereabouts as she was not allowed to come to the house as part of her bail conditions.

She would, however, get in contact with the investigating officer to inform the mother of the funeral arrangements, she said.

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Read more on:    cape town  |  fires  |  crime

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