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Two children killed in Mitchells Plain shack fire

The children died in the blaze on Tuesday morning, which gutted the wooden structure where they were sleeping.

FILE: The remains of a shack fire seen at Masiya informal settlement on 3 June 2018. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Authorities are investigating the cause of a shack fire in Mitchells Plain in which two children were killed.

The little boy and girl died in the blaze on Tuesday morning, which gutted the wooden structure where they were sleeping.

Fire and rescue’s Theo Layne says: “The city’s fire and rescue service responded to an incident at Flamingo Crescent, Colorado Park. One informal structure was destroyed in the fire. The cause of the fire has not been determined as yet and the matter has been handed over the South African Police Service for further investigation.”

Earlier this month, five children died in a shack fire in Philippi, in the Western Cape. A police investigation was launched after the incident. President Cyril Ramaphosa responded shortly after this, describing the death of the five boys as a tragedy that highlights the dangers faced by thousands of vulnerable South Africans, especially during winter.

The onset of winter usually brings with it a spike in shack fires, as many residents have no choice but to rely on paraffin stoves and heaters to protect themselves from the cold.

In Gauteng, three children were killed during May when a blaze ripped through their home in the Spooktown informal settlement. The children were aged between two and 11.

VIDEO: 3 children killed in shack fire in Bekkersdal

Ramaphosa said government would do its best to assist affected families.

“My prayers and thoughts - and those of government and all South Africans - are directed to the families who have been affected by death and displacement at the Masiya settlement. As government, we will do our best to assist the affected families. We will also work with communities to promote safety measures at a time when many families use various forms of fuel and heating to keep warm.”

Additional reporting by Lauren Isaacs & Thando Kubheka

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)