While many families in Graskop were enjoying the 2017 festive season of joy and laughter, the Monareng family was trying to recover from the shock of losing a home to a mysterious fire.
The incident happened on December 15th, 2017 around midday.
The house belongs to Patricia Monareng, who stays with her two young daughters, aged 8 and 15. Patricia’s mother (Betty Monareng) is also one of the house occupants. According to Patricia, no one was inside the house when the fire broke out. She said that the family has lost valuable items such as beds, 54cm television, freezer, two big fridges, DSTV dish, kitchen unit and stove, amongst other things.
“There was no electricity when I woke up, but it was only at my house. An electrician from the municipality was busy on a meter box nearby. He said I must report the matter to the municipality office. I walked to the municipality to report the matter and when I came back, I saw a group of people standing next to the burning house,” said Patricia.
She said that the family was “deliberately” side-lined from various RDP lists along the years, dating from 2008. This resulted in the decision to build a shack as a temporary relief for shelter.
Ward Councillor, Sandile Shongwe, said that human error might be a probable cause for the fire. He, however, said that his role was to ensure that reasonable relief was ensured for the family. He refuted the claims that the family was ignored from the RDP list, and he furthermore urged the family to approach the municipality office for more information.
“We are working closely with Disaster Management to help the family. We are organising blankets, clothes, food parcels, stoves and temporary shelter. Many instances cause a fire, therefore we warn the community not to use paraffin stoves without supervision,” said Shongwe.