By Jonk wa Mashamba
and Malesela Mangena
It was too late when the neighbors tried to help remove the burning man from his engulfed shack in Marboro.
The man, reportedly aged 20-30, originally from Zimbabwe, was seen extremely drunk before the incident occurred on Tuesday night, 2 May 2021.
He had only stayed for one week at the Bettenrn Court (near Alexandra ICT) in Marlboro.
He is suspected of leaving a lit candle unattended during his sleep, resulting in horrific fire which destroyed more than 12 shacks.
“It is unfortunate that we failed to rescue the man, the fire was huge.
“And we managed to salvage only two beds, but our other properties were destroyed by fire,” said Noluthando Mlambo (32), one of the affected inhabitants.
She said that a vehicle parked near the dead man’s shack exploded, causing the extreme fire.
Nomsa Nyundu (47) complained that they only got soup and water the next day.
“We’re dying of hunger. We only ate in the morning and now our Councillors are spreading the lie that they provided us with enough food packages.”
The same yard where the shacks burnt, a controversial construction of containers, apparently intended for the occupants of the Madala Hostel and others, is currently underway.
However, the residents of the Buttenrn Court, who claimed to have been taking care of the area for more than 20 years, are excluded from the housing project.
They alleged an official who came with the disaster management, accused them of burning the shacks in order to benefit from the project.
“That’s insane. That public servant is cold-hearted. Why does she even think we burned down the shacks so we could be allocated houses? Her remark is horrible,” fumes Mlambo.
108 Ward Councillor Deborah Fransisco said that disaster management has provided food to the devastated families and that additional assistance is ongoing.
However, Fransisco accused the families of invading the land, saying she’s not promising them any place.
She said they should vacate the land because it was reserved for development.
She said that people were invading the empty land and hoping to be given houses in case their shacks burnt.
“We have lived in this area for over two decades. We’re also worthy of a decent place to live. We are citizens of this country and we voted for them, yet they rejected us,” Mlambo said.
According to Mlambo, the area burned down for the fourth time now.