Northern Cape police are appealing to shack dwellers to always extinguish any fires or candles before going to bed. The call comes in the wake of the death of four family members who perished in a shack fire at White City near Kimberley.  

A 25-yearold mother, her boyfriend and their two toddlers died when their shack caught fire. This is the second incident in which a family perished in a blaze in the area. Patricia Sekgoro, and her two boys died in a similar manner, two weeks ago. 

Pricilla Ndaba, and her boyfriend Raymond Levlier, lived in a shack in a newlyestablished informal settlement near Roodepan with their two children, aged one and five. The area does not have basic services such as water and electricity. Like their neighbours, they depended on candles and paraffin stoves. They all died when their shack caught fire while sleeping.  

Provincial Police Spokesperson, Bashoabile Kale, says the recent incidents are worrisome. 

A family of four people perished in a shack fire at White City in Roodepan. The cause of fire is the candle that was left unattended. The police are pleading with shack dwellers to please put out their fires and candles before they go sleep. We, furthermore, appeal to the community to use the shooters to lock their shacks from inside rather than a padlock as it is easier to escape during shack fires,” Kale says.

The family and neighbours are still reeling from shock. Ndaba’s friend, Eldina Serape, says she lost a friend and a sister. 

I feel very painful that I lost my friend. She was everything to me. We were like sisters. I don’t know what really happened. The last time we were together was on Saturday, at her in-laws home,” says Serape.

Neighbours of the deceased family say the tragedy could have been prevented if their area had water and electricity.