Shack fire claims life of 28-year-old

GroundUp reporter Sabelo Mpana was at the scene

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Photo of man at burned out shack
Ndawo Gwabeni at the place where his cousin Nkosivumile Mangciphu died in a fire at the weekend. Photo: Sabelo Mpana

I rushed outside and saw flames getting very big. I logged a call to the Drakenstein fire department which responded very fast. It was hardly five minutes before the fire truck was on the scene.

The deadly shack fire in the early hours of Sunday morning left one man dead and destroyed several shacks in Nether Park informal settlement in Mbekweni, Paarl.

The fire broke out just after 1am with calls of “Kuyatsha!” (Fire!) cutting through the night.

A 28-year-old resident, Nkosivumile Mangciphu, died in the fire.

Zukisani Mataka, 18, said, “As the flames were getting out of control, there was a guy screaming for help in one of the shacks.” Mataka said Mangciphu’s shack seemed to be locked and he had tried to break it down but without success.

Mangciphu’s cousin Ndawo Gwabeni said, “My girlfriend lent her shack to him since she stays with me. I last saw him just after I came from work. He was drinking with his friends. I was already asleep when he came back from his friends. Then, he went to his shack at the back of ours … The next thing we woke up and there were flames in the shack next to ours.”

Mbekweni police spokesperson Sergeant Nceba Vanqa confirmed that Mangciphu had died on the scene. Police are investigating.

TOPICS:  Fire Housing

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