Cape Town – Four children were killed and one child sustained burn wounds in a fire that razed a backyard dwelling in Greyton in the Overberg region at the weekend.
Mariam Snyman, 2, Kenwin Latier, 9, Joshua Jaars, 10, and Breyton Wildschutt, 13, died, while Ashley Latier, 8, was taken to hospital. They were all sleeping when the fire started.
A distraught Simon Pedro whose son Joshua was killed, said: “I don’t have an answer He (Joshua) was very close to me.
“There’s nothing further that I can say.”
Pedro explained that he did not live with Joshua and his mother, but resided in the same neighbourhood, and had been alerted to the incident only on Sunday.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said inquest cases have been opened. She said the cause of the fire was yet to be established.
Local community leader Shannon Cloete said a relative of the children had called her to the scene at about 8am, informing her that a fire had started after midnight in a backyard structure in Roos Laan, Heuwelkroon, in Greyton.
“The community responded with buckets of water, but by the time the fire brigade arrived the structure was burnt down,” Cloete said.
MPL Maurencia Gillion said she had met three single-parent mothers and two grandmothers of the deceased to discuss their needs.
She had also contacted the Social Development to provide counselling for the traumatised families.
She asked local businesses to help rebuild the destroyed backyard structure and to donate household items to the affected families.
“The impact of the tragedy on this community is huge. We need to highlight the social living conditions that are very bad. People don’t have work in the area,” said Gillion.
“What is important for the small community of Heuwelkroon is that they are supporting each other.”
She said Greyton Primary School, where Child Welfare had started counselling, would host a memorial service on its premises on Thursday.