Tragedy strikes Joe Slovo settlement as brothers die in shack fire

The family is now appealing for help to bury the beloved boys.

Two brothers, aged 15 and 17, were burnt to death and their mother seriously injured in a shack fire in Joe Slovo informal settlement, Gauteng in the early hours of Monday, January 15, Boksburg Advertiser reports.

The teenagers were reportedly burnt beyond recognition after the shack caught fire while they were asleep.

READ MORE: Inquest docket opened after man burns to death in Kimberley shack fire

According to a family member, Mvuyiswa Makheseti, the mother, Liziwe Komani, was with her sons in the shack when the fire started.

She managed to escape as the blaze took hold, but she could not save her sons who remained trapped in the shack which was engulfed in flames.

“The boys’ mother told us that she frantically screamed for help,” said Makheseti.

“Scores of residents woke to the screams of their neighbour and came with buckets of water from the nearby tap and started to fight the fire in a desperate attempt to save the boys’ lives.

“The fire was, however, too strong and happened so fast. They just couldn’t extinguish the blaze in time to get to the boys because the fire just got out of control so quickly, with the whole place filled with clouds of smoke and flames.”

Neighbours who tried to help the boys told Makheseti that it was horrible to hear the boys crying for their lives in agony.

A old photo of the brothers who died in the shack fire.

A old photo of the brothers who died in the shack fire.

Makheseti described the loss of the boys to the fire as a tragic situation.

“It’s a very difficult time in our family,” he said.

Residents eventually managed to put out the fire and prevent it from spreading to the adjacent shacks. The two-room shack, made of corrugated iron and wood, was reduced to ashes.

The residents said police and emergency services arrived on the scene after being called, but it was too late. The mother was taken to hospital for treatment and was discharged that afternoon.

It is believed the shack caught fire due to a candle that was left burning.

The boys had arrived in Gauteng from Welkom, where they were staying with their aunt, on Sunday, January 14, less than 24 hours before they were killed.

Their mother brought them to Reiger Park where they were supposed to start at a new school, Oos Rand Secondary, on Wednesday (January 17).

The sons recently lost their father and the family was dependent on social grant for the two boys.

The grief-stricken unemployed mother described her sons as “decent and kindhearted boys who were always respectful”.

“I’m still struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of my only two sons,” she said.

“I can’t even fall asleep since the incident on Monday. All I wanted my sons to do, with the little support grants we receive from government, is to study and take care of me once they have found jobs, but they were taken away from me. It’s really sad.”

The family is now struggling to transport the bodies back to the land of their ancestors where they must be laid to rest. The family also lost everything they own in the fire, including food, clothing, personal documents and furniture.

They are appealing for any assistance to transport the two bodies to the Eastern Cape, as well as any donations such as food, clothing, furniture and other necessities.

Anyone who can assist can contact Makheseti on 083 926 7363 or Komani on 078 200 1860.

Police spokesperson Sgt Mashudu Phathela confirmed that the Reiger Park SAPS had opened an inquest into the death of the two boys following the incident.

Ward 34 councillor Charlie Crawford said he was trying to get assistance for the family from council to rebuild their home.

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