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Khoza calls for “stiff” sentence for alleged Phoenix fire killer

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Nov 1, 2021

KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza has called for a stiff sentence for the murder of five people in a fire following a domestic dispute in Phoenix.

It is alleged that a 57-year-old man set a flat alight in Westham, Phoenix, north of Durban, in the early hours of Monday morning before fleeing the scene.  Five people aged between three and 37 died in the fire.

Police swiftly arrest the man in connection with the incident.

SAPS spokesperson Jay Naicker said police arrested the man at the home of his relatives in Phoenix.

“He had serious burn wounds and was taken to a local hospital where he is being held under police guard,” Naicker said.

Seven people managed to escape the fire. 

Khoza sent her heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families.

“We are pained by this incident. The full horrific details of this crime is deeply concerning. This is the most horrific of crimes, but we recognise this incident as part of a much bigger challenge faced by many people, especially women and children in our communities,” Khoza said.

Khoza applauds swift police action

Khoza said the fact that there had allegedly been a domestic altercation prior to the fire was an indication of the extent of violence perpetrated against vulnerable groups by those who are supposed to protect them.

She applauded police for their swift response in bringing the alleged perpetrator to book.

“We are pleased that police quickly tracked down the man and ensured that he got arrested. We call on the justice sector to show no mercy to people like this who have no respect for human lives,” Khoza said.

She urged people who feel in imminent danger to walk away from the situation and seek immediate support. 

Khoza dispatched a team of social workers to visit the affected people to provide psycho-social support.

“Our communities should isolate people involved in gender-based violence and femicide incidents. We cannot pretend as if it is normal to murder people like this. No one should be able to walk scot-free after killing people. We will be monitoring progress on this case, as we want to see the perpetrator rot in prison,” she said.

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