Mum arrested after kids die in shack fire

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By Buziwe Nocuze

A Khayelitsha mom who left her two kids alone to go and party has been arrested for child neglect.

Melezwa Mntwini, 31, lost her two kids – Athanandi Mntwini, 10, and her brother Ingakuthi, 5 – in a shack fire that happened while she was out with her friends in the Msindweni informal settlement, Cape Town.

It was around 3am on Saturday when she received a devastating call, telling her about the fire in her shack.

When Mntwini arrived, her kids were trapped inside the burning shack. Residents tried everything to save them.

Mntwini confirmed that it was not the first time she had left her kids behind when going out with friends.

“It was not the first time that I left them alone, but every time before leaving I made sure that I had unplugged all the electricity and left them with their phones so that if something happened they would call me,” said Mntwini.

She believed that her kids were killed by someone because only her shack was burnt and the fire started at the door. She said she left the scene because she couldn’t stand to hear the cries of her children pleading to be saved.

A resident, speaking anonymously, said they tried to break down the shack but couldn’t do it because they feared being electrocuted.

“The shack had electricity all over it. We were afraid of getting electrocuted and dying,” said the resident.

“I am still struggling to sleep. I hear their voices, crying and asking to be saved. God knows we tried our best but we couldn’t save them.”

The resident said she will be haunted by the voices of the kids’ voices pleading to be saved and that she was happy Mntwini was arrested.

“Some people feel sorry for her, saying she should be allowed to prepare for her kids’ burial and maybe get arrested after burying them, but I don’t feel sorry for her,” said the resident.

“If she hadn’t left them in the first place, she wouldn’t be in jail today.”

Western Cape SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie said police have opened a case of child neglect regarding the deaths of the two children, in addition to an inquest.

“The investigating officer arrested the mother of the children who faces two counts of child neglect. She will appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court,” said Pojie.

Pictured above: A 31-year-old mother was arrested for child neglect after her two kids died in a fire. 

Image source: Supplied.


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