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 family’s live-in domestic worker was not injured and was receiving psycho-social treatment at Cala Hospital, according to the provincial health authority.

“The investigators will use their discretion on whether or whether there are reasons to undertake an interview with the survivor; we do not want to speculate at this juncture,” said Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana, a police spokesperson.

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

“The firefighters who were also on the site extinguished the blaze, but the family could not be saved because they had already died inside the house; just one individual, thought to be a domestic helper, aged 28, was rescued and sent to a local hospital for medical care,” Kinana said.

“Physically, she never sustained any [burn wounds], but she has been primarily kept for psycho-social support reasons; [she] may leave [on Tuesday], but the concerned church and social development are finalising an exit plan,” said Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo about the domestic worker’s condition.

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.

“We wish to call on the people of the Eastern Cape and the religious fraternity to help the family at this period,” ANCWL provincial coordinator Siphokazi Lusithi said in a statement.

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