Death race for JZ’s niece


Mabuyi, who was with a seven-year-old child, lost everything, including identity documents, birth certificates, bank cards and furniture in the fire during a fierce storm on Tuesday afternoon.

The rondavel was still smouldering when The Times arrived almost 24 hours after the incident.

Mabuyi, 43, was still shaken. She had sought refuge inside the two-room rondavel as the thunderstorm intensified over Nkandla.

Little did she know that minutes later her place of safety would almost become a death trap.

“The storm gathered quickly and there was a lot of lightning. I went inside to unplug the TV and other appliances. But a minute later there were red and yellow flames all around. I took the child and cellphones and ran out,” she said.

A relative, Hlebe Zuma, who was in one of the other five nearby rondavels, said a big streak of lightning struck Mabuyi’s house like a “rock falling from the sky”.

“I shouted for her to come. The flames were instant,” he said.

Mabuyi’s daughter had to go to school yesterday without shoes and part of her uniform.

“This has saddened me because everything inside was expensive stuff,” she said.

Her father, Khanya, Zuma’s younger brother, said the family had informed the president.

Attempts to get comment from the Presidency were unsuccessful.

Fire engines from Umlalazi and Nkandla municipalities arrived almost two hours after the lightning strike at the rondavel.

Umlalazi and Nkandla fall under King Cetshwayo District Municipality, formerly known as uThungulu District, on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

Newly elected ward 14 councillor Bongokwakhe Mbambo said the razed house was part of the Zuma family homestead in the KwaNxamalala village.

“Everything was destroyed. They lost everything, but luckily no one was injured,” said Mbambo.

He said four other houses were destroyed during the storm, including one that collapsed and another that was blown away.

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