A Mooi River family are grieving the deaths of four people, one of them a gogo, in a blaze at the weekend.
Beauty Themba Mncube (81), her granddaughter Yenziwe Majola (21), two neighbours, Siyabonga Innocent Ndlovu (34) and Mfundo Zuma, all from Bruntville, died in the fire on Saturday night.
Sifiso Mncube, a heartbroken family member, said: “When the fire occurred, I wasn’t at home. I was visiting friends. When I got a call that the house [was] burning, I came immediately, but by the time I got here the fire was almost completely extinguished.
“We don’t know what caused the fire, but we are made to believe that it started from the kitchen,” said Mncube.
It is believed that someone in the house forgot to switch off the stove.
“When the fire broke out, residents helped extinguish it but by the time the fire brigade arrived, my grandmother couldn’t get out. They were trapped inside. The flames had engulfed the house.”
Mncube said his grandmother, Majola, and Zuma died at the scene while Ndlovu died on his way to the nearest clinic.
A relative of Ndlovu’s, Xoliswa Khanyile, said he died from smoke inhalation.
Describing Ndlovu, Khanyile said he was a well-known person with a colourful character.
“Everyone knew him. He was a people’s person and the life of any party. It’s difficult to accept that he’s gone,” she said.
Khanyile said her aunt, who raised Ndlovu, had been admitted to hospital for shock and nearly suffered a stroke after learning of his death.
“We are all traumatised by what happened,” she said.
Ward councillor Qiniso Mkhize said: “We will be getting the family and neighbours to counselling because, while waiting for the coroners to arrive, the bodies were left on the scene which added to their trauma.
“I also really commend the community for rallying and helping in the desperate situation to assist in dousing the fire while waiting for emergency services,” he said.