KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka today visited the Beachway informal settlement in Clermont Ward 22 in  eThekwini, where a fire destroyed 18 shacks killing a mother, Samkelisiwe Ngxolo (17) and her two children Oluhle (3) and Sanokuhle (6 months), and left 30 people homeless.

Hlomuka paid his respects to the Ngxolo family as he visited Xoliswa Ngxolo who is the aunt of the deceased mother who told of her despair on Tuesday morning when, while she was walking her son to school, she got a call informing her that her shack was on fire and that her niece and her children were all dead.

“Tuesday is a day I will never forget. It is when I lost three members of my family,” she said. Hlomuka comforted her and assured her that the provincial government, together with the eThekwini metro, will do all they can to ensure that adequate support is provided which includes the funeral arrangements for her loved ones. “The scenes that greeted us this morning are truly heartbreaking. The loss of three lives in such an abrupt manner!” – said Hlomuka.

During his visit to the area, Hlomuka who was accompanied by Disaster Management teams from the province and the Thekwini metro, assured the fire victims that support would be ongoing to ensure that they are able to return to normal life as some of them have lost essential documents such as IDs. “Additionally, we are in contact with Human Settlements and they will be providing materials which can be used by the affected families to put up temporary structures. We have also distributed interim relief aid which includes blankets, nonperishable food and clothing items” said Hlomuka.

The MEC has also urged residents across the province to exercise great caution more especially those residing in informal settlements, as during winter incidents like these are very prone. “We all need to play our part and ensure that we protect ourselves and our loved ones by ensuring that we use caution when using candles or any flammable product as they can cause serious damage when left unattended,” said Hlomuka.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882