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2021/04/21      |  Written By:  Colonel D Mdhluli   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

NELSPRUIT - Police management in Mpumalanga urge parents and guardians not to leave their children unattended. This comes in light of an incident in which a three year old girl perished in a house fire, in the evening of Monday, 19 April 2021 at Siyathuthuka Township in Belfast. 

Reports indicate that the victim and her siblings aged seven and nine years old, were left alone by their mother in the shack where they stay. When she returned from where she was, she found the shack engulfed in flames and immediately called for help. The other two children managed to escape the fire unharmed, except the three year old. A case of culpable homicide was opened against the woman with an additional charge of child neglect. 

Meanwhile a similar incident occurred on Friday, 16 April 2021, at Masoyi, where two young girls, aged seven and eight respectively burned to death also in a house fire after being left unattended to.

According to information at police disposal, on the said day the two children who are said to be cousins, were asleep in the house at Jerusalem (at Masoyi) near White River whilst their parents were away. Their uncle was visiting neighbours at the time and it is said that he was notified by one of the neighbours that a spotlight at the house where the children were asleep, was off. He then went to investigate and on his arrival, he realised that the bedroom where the girls were was on fire. He reportedly called other neighbours to assist extinguish the fire, however the flames were too intense and the girls perished in the fire. An inquest case is currently being probed and a charge of child neglect will be added.

In another incident, a 23-year-old woman was recently arrested in Bushbuckridge for child neglect, after she reportedly left her three children, aged four, five years old as well as a nine-month old baby unattended between the evening of Friday, 09 April and the morning of Saturday, 10 April 2021. Her family then thought that she was missing and the matter was brought before the attention of police. 

A search party for her was conducted and she was later found at a certain tavern on Friday, 16 April 2021, after information surfaced from members of the public that she was seen in one of the taverns at Violet Bank near Bushbuckridge. A case was opened against and she was arrested, appeared before court yesterday where her case was remanded until tomorrow, Thursday 22 April 2021 for bail application.

Police management in the province urge parents as well as guardians to play their role in order to prevent such incidents from occurring.