Reunited family shattered by fire


Shack fire in Paarl claims father’s long lost son

Photo of a man speaking
Nathi Kelem speaks about the loss of his son. Photo: Sabelo Mpana

In the early hours of Friday morning, tragedy struck in White City, Mbekweni, near Paarl. A shack fire claimed the life of 20-year-old Bulelani Tyumbetya. About 20 homes were destroyed in the fire.

The young man’s father, Nathi Kelem, 47, said he was at work at the time of the fire. “I am very heartbroken to lose my long lost son,” he said. His son had returned to him four months ago after a 15-year absence.

“I was still getting to know my son, but now he is no more,” he said.

It is believed the fire started in Kelem’s shack.

Ward 6 Councilor Zukiswa Nomana said: “I have been helping them [Tyumbetya’s family] to talk to relatives in the Eastern Cape since they do not have a phone.”

“The municipality assisted the victims with ten zinc [sheets] and three poles. I am currently trying to get more assistance for the victims from a local NGO called World Vision. People were supported with blankets and food parcels by the fire department.”

Sergeant Nceba Vanqa Mbekweni of SAPS confirmed the death. “It is suspected that the fire started at his [Tyumbetya’s] shack. He died on the scene and his body was taken to the forensic department in Paarl. A case docket of inquest was registered,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Housing

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