Five members of a family have died after their shack caught fire just outside Despatch in the Eastern Cape.

A neighbour has told police that a 34-year-old mother lived in the house with her four children who were 11 months-old, three, six and 13-years-old.

The cause of the fire is unknown and police are investigating.

Police spokesperson Gerda Swart says an inquest docket has been opened.

“The family resides in an informal home in a new area called Bayland outside Despatch. The names of the victims will only be released after the next of kin are informed.”