Veronica Makhoali30 January 2024 | 7:59

Family of man who died in Nugget Street fire say accused shouldn’t be granted bail

The accused, Bonisiwe Gumede, faces two counts of murder and an arson charge after a fire she allegedly started during a lover’s quarrel resulted in the building going up in flames and two people being burnt beyond recognition.

Family of man who died in Nugget Street fire say accused shouldn’t be granted bail

The remains of a building at the corner of Nugget and Commissioner Street in Johannesburg following a fire on 21 January 2024. Picture: Jacques Nelles/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The family of a man who was burnt beyond recognition during a recent fire in the Johannesburg CBD said the woman who allegedly started the blaze should not be granted bail.

Bonisiwe Gumede, who faces two counts of murder and a charge of arson, is expected back in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.

Gumede allegedly set one of the rooms ablaze at the overcrowded hijacked building during a dispute with her lover two weeks ago.

Despite the swift response of emergency services, two people could not be rescued.

Sizwe Cele and his partner died in the raging flames after Bonisiwe Gumede allegedly threw paraffin during a heated argument with her boyfriend next door.

Speaking on behalf of the grieving family, Cele's uncle, Msongelo Mnisi, reiterated the family’s call for justice.

"A person who does such crime acts like an animal and doesn’t deserve to be among the people. Our hope as the family is that justice mustn’t grant her the bail."

He said Gumede's actions caused immeasurable heartbreak.

“There is no one that is allowed to take someone’s life. Why did she have to do that, in the first place? Because of that one action, she has cost us our loved one - she has cost us dearly.”

The State said it would also oppose bail should Gumede decide to apply.