A mansion belonging to former Greytown mayor Philani “PG” Mavundla was gutted by fire on Friday night.Mavundla, a former Jacob Zuma backer who recently defected from the ANC to the NFP, yesterday told The Witness that the family did not suspect foul play.“The fire started around 9 pm, we are not certain about what happened but it’s possible that it’s something the children did that caused it,” he said.The cost of the damage to the triple-storey house is estimated to be R500 000 as three rooms in the children’s wing were burned out. Mavundla said the entire roof of the house needed to be replaced. He said two fire engines responded to the scene but one broke down by the gate leaving only one to put out the inferno. This, he said, broke his heart, as he was the one that established Greytown’s fire department during his mayoral tenure. The fire engine was still there yesterday as it had not been towed away. “The one that broke down was actually given to me by the former mayor of Pietermaritzburg, Chris Ndlela, because we didn’t have a single one. “It was obviously not properly maintained because you can’t expect these engines to keep running without proper maintenance — in fact, it is critical during the dry season because fires are prevalent.”Mavundla said the engine that was working also struggled because it had to fetch water from far as the area had ongoing water outages with boreholes that needed to be fixed. He said even the provincial government was aware of the water crisis, which had been ongoing since April. “If we didn’t have a problem of water, I believe the damage would not have been this bad because we [the Mavundla family] also have our own system that was designed to assist in putting out fires but we couldn’t do anything without water,” he said. Mavundla is well known in KwaZulu-Natal’s business and political circles having served on the ANC provincial executive committee. He made headlines when he refused to accept a salary and used his personal cars for official duties when he was mayor.He was also part of the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust, which was set up by the late Durban tycoon Don Mkhwanazi in 2005 to raise money for the former president’s defence against his fraud and corruption charges at the time. He reportedly slaughtered 20 cows in a celebration rally when the former head of state was elected as the ANC president in 2007.His recent defection from the governing party came as a shock to many.His construction company PG Mavundla Engineering has been involved in several multi-million rand projects, including Durban’s King Shaka International Airport and Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.