A47-year-old woman from Five Rand location in Okahandja, who sells vetkoek, kapana and oshikundu to feed her six children, is pleading for public assistance after her house was gutted by fire last Tuesday.
Zetulde Petrus told New Era on Saturday that she is struggling to feed her six children because her stock has been destroyed by a fire caused by her 12-year-old son, who was charging his cellphone with the house’s solar electricity system.
According to Petrus, her son, who has interests in gadgets, fixes radios, cellphones and connecting solar to light the house – but this time around, his innovation failed him when the house burned to ashes.
“It was on Tuesday morning when we all woke up as a normal day. I woke up early the morning to go to town to sell my wares, while they were preparing to go to school. We left the house as usual, but little did we know that my son left his battery charging on the solar, which we bought from the Chinese shop some time ago. While I was busy selling, I received a call from my neighbour that my house is on fire. It was terrifying, shocking sad news,” she explained.
She said they are suspecting the battery exploded – and as a result, the fire spread fast to the whole shack.
“All the essential documents and food was destroyed by fire. It is my son who caused the fire but I need help to start over again. I need capital to continue with my business so that I can provide food for my six children and my first four-month-old grandchild,” she explained.
Petrus and her family are now accommodated in a military tent that was donated through the office of the councillor, but only until 20 November.
“We are told that after the 20th of this month, we are likely not to have accommodation because the tent will be taken back to assist other people in need. On that basis, I strongly appeal to the good Samaritans to assist with the corrugated zinc to make shelter,” she appealed.
She seeks assistance with mattresses, as their beds also burned to ashes.
Among the items destroyed are beds, mattresses, solar light that she just finished paying off last month, chairs, a gas stove and the national documents of some children.
Petrus used the opportunity to urge government to speed up the process of informal settlement electrification, as residents continue to lose their properties.