Zuma condoles families of Nigel fire

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has conveyed his condolences to the families and friends of the 18 elderly who died in a blaze at Pieter Wessels retirement home in Nigel, Ekurhuleni.

"The pain caused to families, relatives and staff is no doubt immeasurable. We share the loss and pain, and government will do everything in its power to assist," Zuma said in a statement.

He said while the cause of the fire is still unknown, the advanced age and vulnerability of the elderly residents made them fall victim to the tragic incident.

The President said government will do everything in its power to assist and called for the investigation into the cause of the fire to be expedited.

"The investigation on the cause of the fire should be expedited, and lessons from the incident should be used to improve care and support to older persons in our retirement homes," President Zuma said.

The elderly residents were left homeless on Sunday night when a fire broke out at the home killing 18 and injuring about 40 others.

Survivors of the fire had been transferred to the Zanele Mbeki Home as well as the Nigel old age home, with arrangements being made for transfers to further old age homes.

Gauteng MEC for Social Development and Health, Qedani Mahlangu, said they were working on getting the survivors a permanent residence.

Officials have urged the public to come on board and assist the elderly as they battle to deal with the trauma and to rebuild their lives.

Financial donations can be deposited at Absa Bank, Account name: TC Adra, Account number: 1001390755, Branch code: 334143, reference: P Wessels FCC. Interested donors can also contact Pastor Louis Gouws on (016) 342-0308.