TWO people died in the early hours of Saturday morning when 150 shacks caught fire and burnt to ashes at the Talani Hostel in Tzaneen, Limpopo.
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Moatshe Ngoepe said police are investigating a case of arson and murder in relation to the fire that took place in the industrial area on the outskirts of the Tzaneen CBD.
He said the deceased are two males in their 30s.
“The two deceased were identified but the forensic investigations will still confirm their identities and they are both men in their thirties. The police investigations are still continuing,” explained Ngoepe.
He said fire fighters and other emergency services are still at the scene but have already extinguished the fire.
Forensic teams and police are investigating the cause of the fire and whether or not there are no other bodies trapped in the rubble, Ngoepe added.
It is alleged that the shack dwellers were asleep when their homes caught fire. Most of them managed to escape but the deceased were trapped inside their shacks.
Greater Tzaneen Municipality spokesperson Neville Ndlala said the municipality was not aware of the tragedy.
However, he said the shack dwellers have stayed at Talani illegally for many years.
The municipality tried in vain to remove them, Ndlala added, but they kept returning to the area until they became a large community.
He said most of the dwellers come from various villages in and around Tzaneen but moved into the informal settlement because it’s closer to their work places.