Fire tears through Khaltsha orphanage

Devastated ... Stunned Makhaza resident Mabatho Kumeka looks at the damage done by the fire that swept through Zanokhanyo orphanage last week.

Owners of a Khayelitsha orphanage are calling for help after the home was gutted by fire last Wednesday, November 14.A man has been arrested for the fire and charged with arson.

Founders of the Zanokhanyo Children’s Safety Home in Makhaza said the fire was started in a back storeroom and spread through the property, destroying everything in its path, including refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, cupboards, television sets, bedding and food.

Founder Nolubablo Nditha said fortunately, no children were injured in the fire.

Fourteen people including the nine orphans lived at the home and have been forced to find shelter with neighbours.

Ms Nditha said a 36-year-old man had been rummaging through the storeroom where the home keep old stuff for something to steal.

He lit a match as it was dark and allegedly started the fire.

“It is a disaster. What this means is we need to rebuild the whole home. How are we going to get the money to do that. It might cost millions of rands. We are still looking for a good Samaritan to help us out,” said Ms Nditha, who made a desperate plea for help.

The home consisted of 18 rooms, including a storeroom and two toilets.

Ms Nditha said it would take time for the home to be up and running again.

“To be honest, we are in trouble. The question would be for how long can we ask for a place to sleep with children. We are only hoping for the best to happen,” she said.

This is the second fire at the home. A fire in 2007 left some children injured.

Elvis Mawele was relieved that no children were injured this time.

“It was a process to build the home to where it was. Funding was not easy, so it won’t be easy again. Another pity is that we could not save a thing,” he said.

Resident Mabatho Kumeka said the community was devastated by the news of the fire.

She said the home brought joy to suffering children.

Ms Kumeka also appealed to members of the public to assist the home.

“The support is needed from all fronts This home was a home to us too. Even those who were not staying here have found love here. The public should be in the forefront and lend support to rebuild the home.

Captain Siyabulela Vukubi of Harare police station said the man who was arrested for arson appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday and remains in custody.