Eastern Cape police have asked the public for help in determining the cause of a fire that killed Methodist Church minister Mandisi Mphithi, his wife, and three children at their Seplan mission home near Cala.

Mphithi, 46, his wife Dunyiswa, 29, and their three children, Khololwetu, 5, Zimi, 3, and 11-month-old Yololwetu, killed in the mystery incident on Thursday midnight.

The investigators will use their discretion in determining whether or not to question the survivor. “At this stage, we do not want to speculate,” said police spokeswoman Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana.

Kinana stated that police officers were called to the burning residence by a resident.

“The firefighters who were also on the scene were able to put out the fire, but the family could not be saved because they had died inside the house.” Only one individual, a 28-year-old domestic helper, was saved. “She was brought to a local hospital for medical treatment,” Kinana said.

“Physically, she never incurred any [burn wounds], but she was retained primarily for psychosocial support.” On the condition of the domestic servant, Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said, “[She] may leave [on Tuesday], but the involved church and social development are finalising an exit strategy.”

According to the ANC Women’s League’s (ANCWL) Eastern Cape task force, the Mphithi family’s deaths were a loss not only for their families and the Methodist Church, but also for the communities they served.

“Reverend Mphithi and his wife were outstanding clergy, prioritising service to the people and sharing the word of God.” “We would want to appeal to the people of the Eastern Cape and the religious fraternity to lend their support to the family during this difficult time,” said ANCWL provincial coordinator Siphokazi Lusithi in a statement.

“It is only through our combined practical support that they will realise their grief is shared by many.”

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