A Limpopo man allegedly set his house on fire killing himself and his two daughters aged nine and 13 in the blaze.

Police in Ritavi outside Tzaneen have opened two counts of murder and an inquest after the 51-year-old man allegedly torched his house in Nkowankowa township, killing himself and his two daughters at around 7am on Monday.

Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, police spokesperson said “The neighbours allegedly saw the house engulfed in flames and jumped over the wall fence in an attempt to rescue the occupants. They then broke one of the windows to get inside and in the process, managed to rescue the father who had already suffered from smoke inhalation. He died on the scene. The intense blaze and smoke forced them out.”

Mojapelo said police and emergency personnel, as well as firefighters, were immediately called to the scene and after the fire was extinguished, the burnt bodies of the two children were then found in separate rooms.

Mojapelo further said “Preliminary police investigations revealed that the deceased and his wife were separated and that his daughters were staying with him. Both children were scholars at Meridian College in Nkowankowa. It is also suspected the father set the house alight using a highly flammable substance”.

Mojapelo also said the man was identified as Gledwin Mboweni and was employed by Statistics SA as its acting district manager in the Mopani District and his daughters were identified as Mikateko Tonia Mboweni, 13, and nine-year-old Tsakane Tilda Mboweni.

He added that “The motive for the incident is unknown at this stage but domestic violence cannot be ruled out. Police investigations are continuing”.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba has condemned the incident and further advised community members who might be facing domestic challenges or strained relationships, to seek professional help instead of resorting to extreme violence.