Mamelodi East police have opened an inquest into the death of an 11-year-old boy who burned to death in an Extension 11 shack settlement.
Neighbours who tried to put out the fire managed to save the dead boy’s eight-year-old brother on Tuesday, Rekord East reported.
It is suspected the shack caught fire at about 4am, destroying four other structures in a yard.
Residents of Extension 11 blamed the mother of the dead child for being irresponsible, leaving the children to sleep alone at night while she went to spend the night at her boyfriend’s place.
One of the neighbours, Nelly Makoka, said they were woken by the fire at 4am.
“We tried to put out the fire using water buckets, but the fire was too strong and had already spread all over,” said Makoka.
“Everyone was awake using water buckets while waiting for the Tshwane emergency services to come and put out the fire.”
The children were trapped inside when the fire started.
“We managed to pull out an eight-year-old child but failed to save the 11-year-old who was still inside the burning shack,” said Makoka.
The mother of the children only arrived in the morning after neighbours went to look for her. She collapsed upon hearing the news. She and the eight-year-old were rushed to hospital.
One of the residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said she blamed the mother for leaving her children on their own.
She said it was not the first time this had happened.
Residents and social workers had tried to intervene before, but she continued to leave the children on their own.
The uncle of the children who stays nearby, Jack Baloyi, said he was shocked about what had happened to his family and said he could not understand what could have caused the fire.
A funeral date hasn’t been set yet.
Mamelodi East police spokesperson Captain Michael Mbewe said the children were still asleep when the fire started.
“We suspect a candle was the cause of the fire,” said Mbewe.
Police were still investigating and a case of arson has been opened.
– Caxton News Service