Man burns grandmother’s house after accusing tenants of trying to steal it
A 47-year-old man allegedly tried to raze his family home in Bulawayo’s suburb of Entumbane, after he accused his grandmother’s tenants of trying to steal her house.
In a drunken stupor, it is reported that Nkululeko Mpofu torched the house on Monday night, burning property that belonged to a tenant only known as MaTshuma.
The property lost in the inferno was worth $50 000.
Now Gogo Gladys Sibanda is worried as to how she will pay her tenants to replace the burnt property and is appealing for help.
“My grandson arrived in the evening drunk and found myself and MaTshuma talking. We were discussing the Bible. He then started accusing us that we are gossiping about him and then we replied saying why should we gossip about you when we are discussing the Bible.
“He then started saying the tenants were not paying rent money on time. MaTshuma replied to him saying, how many times did he want her to pay rent. I also added that how can he ask me about money that doesn’t concern him,” said Gogo Sibanda.
She said Nkululeko insulted MaTshuma and they had a heated exchange outside the house.
“Thereafter he started insulting MaTshuma, they took their argument outside, I tried to quell the situation. Leaving us outside the house, Nkululeko then entered the house and locked it. I then tried to speak to him, after failing to reason with him, I left to look for the resident’s association representative to come help me.
When I was there, I then got word that the house was on fire. I tried to rush back there with the residents and we were in the company of the police. I saw the house burning and neighbours took me in. and I don’t know what happened thereafter,” said Gogo Sibanda.
She said Nkululeko, who is in police custody, often insults her when he gets drunk.
“I don’t think he has a mental problem; I have lived with him since he was born and his parents died, his father in 1991 and his mother in 1998. He becomes a problem the moment he drinks alcohol. He starts insulting me with inhlamba (swear words). It’s as if I’m not his grandmother when he starts insulting me,” said Gogo Sibanda.
She said she was at a loss as to how she would remedy the situation.
“The tenants were helping me to pay bills and buy tablets that manage my blood pressure. There is no other source of income and now I’m stressed about how I will replace their property. The one who is in the spare bedroom, their money was being used to pay bills and the one who was sleeping in the kitchen, that income would buy me food and other things. I don’t know how I will buy food and pay the bills for this house, let alone replace their property,” said Gogo Sibanda.
Temporarily, Gogo Sibanda is living with relatives in Pumula Old.
Bulawayo City Council Chief Fire Officer Linos Phiri confirmed the incident.
“It is concerning that such cases seem to be on the rise that involve grandchildren burning houses where they are living with their parents or grandparents. Another case happened on Sunday in Cowdray Park and another happened in Queens Park last month,” he said.
He said property worth $50 000 was burnt, including a bed and the roof of the house.
“If there are children who are a problem, we urge people to seek help when the problems begin. It’s either by counselling by professionals or the family so as to try to avoid such situations from happening,” he said.
Bulawayo police provincial spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident.
“On the 18th of October 2021 at around 1700 hours, the accused person entered into the tenant ‘s room and accused her of pretending to be good to his grandmother so that she will remain as a house beneficiary. The complainant left the accused person since she knew that he was violent. The accused person later locked the door and lit the curtain using a matchstick,” said Inspector Ncube.
He said when the room was lit, MaTshuma then summoned help from the neighbours who broke down the door and removed Nkululeko from the fire.
Inspector Ncube urged members of the public to solve their problems amicably rather than to use violence.
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