Further grief for family who lost children in shack inferno

Buyiswa Mjaleni, who was injured in the fire that killed her two grandchildren, has since died Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
Buyiswa Mjaleni, who was injured in the fire that killed her two grandchildren, has since died Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
Hardly a month after a deadly inferno killed two young children in a shack fire, their granny, Buyiswa Mjaleni, who had been in hospital since the incident, has died.

The fire took place at the Velwano informal settlement in NU 1 Mdantsane on June 30. Mjaleni, 73, was left to care for her grandchildren Avuzwa, 5, and Avethendwa, 3, for the weekend while their mother, Chuma, was in Potsdam.

It is believed the fire broke out when the granny fell asleep while cooking, but Mjaleni later disputed this. The cause has not been established.

The mother of the deceased children and Mjaleni’s youngest child, Chuma, was the last person from the family to see the elderly woman alive on Wednesday last week.

“Her death came as a shock to our family because we had seen her last week and, although she was in pain, she was looking well,” said Chuma. Her mother had just returned from having her wounds dressed and she was in deep pain.

“She got an injection to relieve the pain and we spoke for a while. She kept talking about my late children. That is why I did not visit her as much as I should, because it hurt.”

She said that her family was now suffering a “double trauma” because they had been hopeful her mother had survived the worst.

Mjaleni’s eldest son, Luyanda, said the family was still trying to come to terms with the unexpected death.

“We received the phone call on Sunday evening, but the family has still not gathered and decided when she would be buried.

“Her body is already at the mortuary,” he said. The family had consulted Makinana Funeral Parlour to assist them with the burial. The owner of the parlour paid for the burial costs of the children. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

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