For the families of Mduduzi Ndlovu (40), Simphiwe Moropane (28) and Khathutshelo Muedi (37), the three firemen who died while battling a fire at a government building in Johannesburg last week, it Wednesday's memorial service at Ellis Park was an emotional event.
Khathutshelo’s younger brother Israel Muedi told DRUM he arrived at the scene shortly after his brother died.
“What pains me the most is my brother left behind a three-week-old baby girl,” he said.
“I know he saved up for them but they will grow up not knowing their daddy. I have my own family, it’s not like old days where I can take [care of] his wife. But I will give support where I can. I have to step up and take that responsibility.”
Khathutshelo Mued died from lack of oxygen after he became trapped in the building.
Israel continued by explaining that his brother was a very responsible man who made sure his family’s well-being was a priority.
“I believe my brother did everything for them. And I believe he saved up for them to be taken care of financially.”
Israel added that when their father died in 2011 Khathutshelo took on the role.
“I was already old then but he was there for me. Eighty percent of his life we spent together, before and after he got married,” Israel explained.
Israel, who works as a forensic investigator, says as much as it is difficult they won’t cry because they’re a Christian family.
“For me I feel like it was his time. We are praying because that’s what he used to do – pray. He would come visit me at Vaal and we would pray before he leaves. He was a pillar to the family when it comes to praying,” Israel said.
Khathutshelo leaves behind his wife Fhumulani, two daughters aged three weeks and 2 years old and an 18-month-old son.