14 July 2016
EThekwini Mayor Visits Lakehaven Child and Youth Care Centre to Offer Support
A City delegation, led by eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo, met with the Executive Director and Board members of Lakehaven Child and Youth Care Centre today, 14 July 2016 to offer their sympathies and support after eight people died when a fire gutted one of the cottages.
The children that died are aged between eight and 19-years-old.
The visit was welcomed by Executive Director of the child welfare centre, Shehnaaz Gabru, who thanked Nxumalo and the government delegation for their support and commitment to assist with the funeral arrangements.
Explaining events leading up to the fire, Gabru said at about 01h15 childcare workers at the centre did their routine checks to determine if all children were asleep. At that time, she said, there were 18 children in the cottages.
“At about 01h40 the child care workers noticed that there was a fire in one of the cottages. The necessary evacuation procedures were followed, but unfortunately of the 18 children we were only able to save 10 of them,” she said.
Gabru said Lakehaven Centre accommodates 60 children and most of them were away visiting relatives as it is school holidays.
City Fire received a call at 02h25 on Thursday morning, 14 July 2016, and immediately dispatched three fire engines. The first fire engine arrived at 02h35 and the other two arrived soon thereafter. Emergency services say the cottage where the eight people died was fully engulfed in flames when fire fighters began putting out the flames.
Nxumalo told Gabru that KwaZulu-Natal Legislature member, Nontembeko Boyce, Executive Committee member and ANC Chairperson in the eThekwini Region Zandile Gumede, City Manager, Sibusiso Sithole and senior City officials had come to offer support during this difficult time.
“We are saddened by the devastating news we received this morning about the incident that happened at the children’s home. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. We want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families. We will work with the centre and families to ensure that they bury their loved ones in a dignified manner,” he said.
Government officials from the Department of Social Development were also on site offering counselling and collating information from management at the centre.Police have opened an inquest docket.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.
For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Mbonambi on 031 311 4855 or or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or
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