SO SAD: Employer’s 2 children burnt to death in shack fire as maid rushes to save her own belongings


WHEN a woman told Maria Tembe she had no place to stay, Maria felt pity for her.

So, she took the woman in as a nanny to look after her two kids while she ran her business as a hawker.

But the 30-year-old now regrets opening her home to a stranger. This after she lost her two daughters, aged three and four, in a shack fire on Sunday, 9 June.

The nanny (40) allegedly locked the children in the shack around 3pm to go drink. She allegedly also left a pot with cooking oil on the stove, which burned and set the shack on fire.

The landlord, Dora Mthethwa from Tambo Section in Wattville, Ekurhuleni, said she heard an explosion and the main switch tripped. She was greeted by flames from Maria’s shack when she went out to investigate.

“I called for help thinking about the children in the burning shack. The nanny was not there, and the shack was also locked,” said Dora.

What made the neighbours and landlord angry was that the nanny rushed into the burning shack to save her belongings and not the children.

“She took out all the beds, clothes, washing powder and a flask not thinking about the children. I’ve never seen such a heartless woman,” Dora said.

Sitting on the bed in a neighbour’s shack, Maria explained to Daily Sun how she met the woman and took her in.

“We’re all from Mozambique and I felt pity for her. I gave her a place to stay and paid her on time. I trusted her with my children, but she has killed them,” she wept.

“She chose to save a box of washing powder and not my children.”

Maria said one morning, her kids cried wanting to go with her to work and she didn’t understand why.

“It shows they were not happy with her, but I didn’t see the signs. Gogo used to complain about her bringing different men, but I didn’t want to get involved as it was her private life.”

Maria said she lost everything in the fire, including her savings.

“I have no money to bury my children,” she said.

Wattville community leader Victor Sithole appealed for help to give the toddlers a decent funeral.

Ekurhuleni district police spokeswoman, Captain Nelda Sekgobela said they have opened an inquest into the children’s deaths and are investigating a case of child neglect.

The nanny appeared in the Benoni Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 11 June. Daily Sun.

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