By Andile Tshuma
Three people died after a woman who was allegedly busted having sex with a married man in Fort Rixon, set fire to the man’s wife who had been accidentally doused in petrol.
The resulting inferno killed the small house, her friend and the married man, leaving the wife hospitalised with severe burns.
The horrific incident occurred at a bottle store after a fight erupted between Ms Memory Ncube and her husband Mr Charlton Dube after she allegedly caught him intimate with Ms Jacqueline Chimanikire.
The drama unfolded at an illegal settlement in Claremont, popularly known as Emkhayeni about five kilometres off Fort Rixon turn-off along the Bulawayo-Harare Road in Matabeleland South.
Ms Ncube was allegedly drenched in petrol when she kicked a fuel container and Chimanikire allegedly lit a match and threw it at her.
Ms Gugulethu Mpala, a Good Samaritan who was caught in the crossfire while trying to stop the fight, died on Tuesday at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where she had been admitted since July.
Dube and Chimanikire have also since passed away. Chimanikire passed away in September while Dube was laid to rest at the weekend.
Dube’s wife, Ms Ncube has been admitted to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) since the incident occurred on July 22.
She was temporarily discharged to attend her husband’s funeral.
An official at UBH yesterday said Ms Ncube was expected back at the hospital today as her burns were septic.
“She needs to come back as she is not fully recovered. Her burns are septic so we need to monitor her as we fear she might get an infection,” said the official who requested anonymity.
Sources told the Chronicle that Ms Ncube flew into a rage after she walked in on her husband in the act with Chimanikire.
A patron at the bottle store, Themba Mpofu, also sustained burns all over his body and is still admitted to the UBH.
According to witnesses, disaster struck after Ms Ncube allegedly kicked over a container with petrol which was in one of the rooms where Dube and Chimanikire were allegedly having sex.
A family member who declined to be named said Chimanikire, in anger, lit a match and threw it at Ncube.
“There was a whoosh as flames engulfed all of them and burnt down the bottle store,” said the relative.
The bottle store belongs to Chimanikire’s father who is said to be based in Shurugwi.
Sources said Ms Ncube had followed her husband to the shops after she received information that one of their children, based in Plumtree, was not feeling well and hospital authorities needed both biological parents to perform a medical procedure.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Philisani Ndebele said he was out of office when contacted for comment.
One of the witnesses, Ms Sakheni Ncube (33), a shopkeeper at the burnt down shop suffered burns on her left hand while trying to save Mpala.
She said she saw a look of “pure terror” in Mpala’s eyes as she lay helplessly, burning on the ground.
Another witness Ndaba Sibanda (54) who was cooking outside the shop said it was more like a scene from a horror movie.
He described the scene as frightening and traumatic to those of a nervous disposition.
“When I tried to enter the shop on my way from buying tomatoes, petrol was all over the floor, with some flowing outside. Before I got to their room to see what was happening, the shop had been engulfed by flames and I quickly bolted out,” said Mr Sibanda.
“Minutes later I saw Mpala coming out screaming while in flames. She rolled on the ground in a desperate bid to put out the fire. Some neighbours poured water on her but it was too late as she had been badly burnt,” said Sibanda. The Chronicle