LISTEN | 'My pregnant girlfriend died and her body was never found,' man tells Usindiso commission
Musa Hamisi from Tanzania says he lost his eight-months-pregnant girlfriend in the Usindiso building disaster and her body was never found.
His testimony was on Wednesday read out at the commission of inquiry into the deadly fire in Marshalltown, Johannesburg, last year, chaired by former justice Sisi Khampepe.
He said he had gone to bed earlier than his girlfriend, Londiwe, who was on her phone. He woke up to screams from people warning about a fire in the building.
“There was smoke in the room as the door was opened. Londiwe had gone to the toilet. I found her in the toilet — already dead — collapsed on the floor. I could not find her pulse. I knew she was dead,” said Hamisi.
“I used the phone torch. The light attracted people who came towards my room. People were screaming.
“I lost my pregnant girlfriend. Her body was never found. I did not get to bury her.”
He testified that on the day of the fire, he had just made payment for rent to a landlord called “Nduna or Zuluman”.
“He only came month-end to collect rent and always had a gun. On the day of the fire he came to collect. He would go room by room and have enforcers carrying guns from floor to floor.
“If someone didn’t have the money, they would hit them on the head with the gun,” he alleged.
Another victim, Maditaba Ramatsoso, wept as she told the commission that her boyfriend died in the fire and how it affected her wellbeing.
She said after escaping their room and finding space to breathe at a corner, she sent her son to go look for her boyfriend, but when he could not find him she had to leave them at a hideout place and go look for him.
“I saw his body lying down and I recognised him by the pyjamas he was wearing. I wasn’t injured but I’m emotionally scarred. I couldn’t stay and watch the building burn. I went and immediately found refuge at a friend’s place close by,” she said.
Ramatsoso said her life changed as she could no longer put food on the table and has had to send her children back home after they lost their jobs and living with her was no longer sustainable.
“The only help I got was the R4,000 I got from Red Cross. I managed to find a place, pay for rent and buy food.”
Listen to the testimonies here:
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