Mayor helps grieving family

Ward councillor Bongile Ngcani shows mayor Dan Plato where Zikhona and her three children died.

The Vuntu family from Endlovini informal settlement who lost three children and their mother in a fire that destroyed their shack last week, breathed a sigh of relief after mayor Dan Plato promised to help them cover the cost of burying the children.

On Thursday March 5, the mayor visited the family to comfort them in their time of grief.

Zukiswa Vuntu, 40, and her children, Khayone, 5, Anako, 8, and Siyamthanda, 7 all died inside the house trying to escape the fire (“Fire kills mother and her three children”, Vukani, March 5).

He said through his mayoral fund he would be able to cover all the burial costs of the children and the family would then put together what they have and cover the costs of burying Ms Vuntu.

He firsts visited the place where the incident took place before he visited Siyahlala, an area opposite Endlovini where the rest of the family stays.

He said the fund only caters for children below the age of 18 and if the burial would take place in Cape Town.

Mr Plato said he hoped his intervention would reduce their burden and stress. “I honestly feel their pain. No family wants to find themselves in their shoes where you don’t know what to do.

“This is the best that I could do in this situation so that it could bring closure to them. At least the burial of their loved ones should be a dignified one (so that the family can) say their last good-byes in an appropriate manner.

“I will liaise with the officials in my department to get the ball rolling,” he said.

As he was about to leave, Mr Plato also donated some cash to the family to buy food in the meantime.

Zikhona Vuntu’s younger sister, Bulelwa Vuntu, wept silently as the mayor detailed his plans to assist her family. Ms Vuntu, who is unemployed, said the family had had no idea where to seek help to bury their loved ones.

“We will always remain indebted to the mayor for what he has done for us. We have no one that could possible assist us . We have been told that the DNA (testing) will take time but if we could do it privately it will take 14 days. But we need to pay R3 400 and we don’t have that money; we are appealing to anyone to assist us in that regard,” she said.

Ward councillor Bongile Ngcani said he had contacted relevant departments to assist the family and also asked the public to help the family in whichever way they could.