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Mysterious fires stalk Roma home

fireTsitsi Matope

ROMA — Suspicions of witchcraft surround the burning of a six-roomed house, for the second time, in an incident that has left a Roma family of four homeless.

The house belonging to Mapetja Mapetja and his wife ‘Maletsie Mapetja, was gutted by what some neighbours yesterday described as a “mysterious fire” last Monday afternoon.

Both husband and wife were at work in Maseru when the fire broke-out, while their two children were at school.

The house worth more than M200 000 had its roof totally reduced to rubble and the walls and floors badly cracked.

Windows were shattered, while extensive damage in the kitchen showed possibilities that the fire might have started around that part of the house.

All the household property estimated to be worth over M50 000 was also reduced to rubble.

In a telephone interview ‘Maletsie Mapetja confirmed this was the second time the same house had caught fire under unclear circumstances.

According to Mapetja, five years ago the house burnt down at night. Investigations by the police became cold and no arrests were ever made.

She explained that on that fateful day, she was alone with her husband, while their two children had visited some relatives in the area.

“I suspect we were the target and could have all died or injured in the fire. Luckily my husband had noticed the house was on fire when he went outside to properly park his car and woke me up. We never got to know who was responsible.”

In that fire, the couple lost all their household property and managed to escape with only the clothes they were wearing.

After a while, Mapetja said they recovered from the horrifying incident and pooled their resources together to renovate the house.

They spent more than M150 000 renovating mainly the roofing which was totally destroyed and a couple of thousands buying new property.

Unfortunately, just when they thought they had recovered from the first fire, another fire struck again.

“We are devastated and need answers as to why this keeps happening to us. Why are fires following us?” Mapetja asked.

She said she suspected Fotha (witchcraft) was behind the mysterious fires.

“How can I not suspect Fotha when the police have not yet explained to us what could have caused the fire? Our neighbours can also not make sense of this. All we have heard is that by the time they saw smoke and rushed to check what was happening, the roof had already collapsed. It all happened so fast, just like in the first fire incident.”

One of the officers at Roma Police Station yesterday said they were investigating possibilities that an electrical fault could have caused the accident.


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