Alex man dies after being attacked for 'arson' following shack fire

07 December 2018 - 07:54 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
A shack fire broke out in Alexandra, Johannesburg, on Thursday, December 6 2018, leaving about 2,000 people homeless.
A shack fire broke out in Alexandra, Johannesburg, on Thursday, December 6 2018, leaving about 2,000 people homeless.
Image: Twitter/@crimeairnetwork

Johannesburg police are investigating a case of murder following the death of a man who was assaulted by Alexandra community members who had accused him of arson.

According to police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo, the man was assaulted by the community on Thursday, after a fire ravaged more than 600 shacks in the township.

“The person is alleged to have started the fire. He was attacked by the community and taken to hospital, where he later died.”

Masondo said police had opened a case of murder and were appealing for help in identifying those responsible for the man’s death.

He said police were also investigating the cause of the fire.

“No one has come forward with information on what or who started the fire. Once we get an official statement on the cause of the fire, we will open a case of arson,” Masondo said.

Meanwhile, Gift of the Givers teams were on site in Alexandra, helping displaced families with shelter, food and blankets.

The organisation’s Emily Thomas told TimesLIVE on Friday that the teams were making a list of affected people.

“We have counted 690 shacks that were affected by the fire and about 2,000 people who were left without homes.”

She said the organisation had moved mothers, children and babies to a community centre, where they were given blankets and food.

A woman who gave birth on Thursday was taken to the Gift of the Givers’ logistics centre in Bramley, Johannesburg, where she and her baby were taken care of, Thomas said.

“We found her sitting on the side of the road. She lost everything.

“We will continue to feed people. We are going to erect a tent to give people shelter while they wait for alternative accommodation,” Thomas said.

Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Nana Radebe told eNCA on Thursday night that they were struggling to fight the fire because there were not enough fire hydrants and the water pressure was weak.

It was unclear whether the blaze was put out overnight.


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