Gugs family left destitute after fire

Jefferey Mfana peers through the broken windows of his gutted home.

A Gugulethu man says it will take a long time for him and his family to rebuild after a fire destroyed their home and claimed the life of a cousin.

The family of seven lost everything in the blaze that gutted the NY 132 home on Saturday night June 24, says Jeffrey Mfana.

He suspects hot coals from a braai started the fire after the family gathered following a relative’s funeral. It was raining and the coals were taken inside the house to warm it, he says.

“I then left because I slept in the back room only to hear people shouting fire. I guess when the fire erupted everybody was asleep, but they managed to slip out and forgot a cousin of ours.

“Then we were told by firefighters that there was a dead person only to find out it was our cousin.”

Mr Mfana praises the firefighters, saying they responded within 20 minutes, but by then the roof had caved in.

“We lost everything we have worked for. It was like a movie. Everything vanished in a blink of an eye. Now the kids and others live with close relatives here in Gugulethu.

“We will have to rebuild the house, but the question is, with what? Because we are not working. There are five children who still need clothing and us too. We are now homeless and have nowhere to go.”

Joseph Khati said his son, Itumeleng Khati, 33, had died while the family was already in mourning.

“What is sad is that we buried a family member at the same time we lost another member, my son. We were mourning. A second incident happened. We are still in grief.”

Street committee member Xolile Rhali said they had tried to get help for the family.

City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse said firefighters from Gugulethu fire station had been first on scene. They had extinguished the blaze by 10.30pm and had found a man’s body among the debris.

The cause of the fire was unknown and the scene had been handed over to police, he said.

The roof caved in during the fire on Saturday night June 24.
Jeffrey Mfana and Joseph Khati in front of the gutted house.