Tuesday, 9 March 2021

FIRE VICTIMS STILL STRANDED

FOUR families whose homesteads were burnt down in separate incidents in Lupane are stranded as they are yet to receive help despite a call for assistance by the district’s Civil Protection Unit.

The Donga family in Mpofu Village lost all its belongings early last month when Kholwani Donga (26) from the same area set three houses alight in three consecutive days accusing his grandparents Robert Donga (75) and Ms Angela Mpala (52) of witchcraft.

The elderly man who was also village head in Mpofu area, succumbed to the burns while admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo two days after the fire while his wife is still admitted to St Luke’s Hospital in Lupane.

Their domestic worker, Praymore Sibanda (19) is also still admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Mpilo following the fire.

Last month we reported that Praymore had also succumbed to the burns but further checks revealed that he was still in ICU.

Ms Ayanda Donga (23) and her daughter Bandile (8) as well as nieces Buhle (10) and Andile (7) who escaped through the window with no injuries are now accommodated at a neighbour’s home because they have nowhere to stay.

The attacker, Donga, who allegedly doused a three-roomed house with petrol before setting it alight with the seven inside, was remanded in custody to April 1 by Lupane resident magistrate Mr Ndumo Masuku for a count of murder and six others of attempted murder.

Ms Donga said her mother’s hospital bill was ballooning although she could not state how much it is.

“Our homestead is still deserted as we have moved to a brother’s homestead. The CPU came but they are waiting for my mother to be discharged from hospital. She is still admitted and in pain because her whole body was burnt. We are struggling to buy medicines for her while the hospital bill is also accumulating,” she said.

A community leader Mr Permanent Sibanda who is also Zanu-PF Lupane District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) chair appealed to well-wishers to help the family.

“There has been no help so far besides what was donated during the late Donga’s burial. Doctors are saying his wife will be discharged soon but we don’t know where she will go because the homestead is in ruins. The family is in a difficult position after losing everything. We managed to ask a neighbour who is a distant relative to accommodate the children but their herd of cattle has been in the bush since the fire incident and we fear they may be attacked by wild animals or stolen. The domestic worker is also still admitted with serious injuries. We are trying to find ways of helping the family as local leadership,” said Mr Sibanda.

Three other families whose homesteads were also burnt by mysterious fires in Guga Village 1, Dongamuzi area also in Lupane in separate incidents are still living in an open space as they have not found help.

Mr Max Mlalazi (78), Mr Thembelani Mlalazi (39) and Mr Khumbulani Nyathi (40) and their families lost all belongings following heart-rending fire incidents more than a fortnight ago.

Lupane District Development Co-ordinator Mrs Ennety Sithole, who chairs the district CPU, said the families desperately need help.

“We are still appealing for help as we wish to see the families restored to their previous positions. So far we got three tapelines from the provincial CPU for the Guga families and nothing for the Mpofu family,” she said. Chronicle

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