Draft Report Suggests Friends Given Outdoor Heater For Tent

Draft Report Suggests Friends Given Outdoor Heater For Tent…  A preliminary report into the deaths of renowned scientist Ndoni Mcunu and her friend S’phumelele Mnomiya has suggested that they were given an outdoor heater to use inside their hotel tent. 
Draft Report Suggests Friends Given Outdoor Heater For Tent



They were also not given a manual on how to use the heater, the report from the labour department noted. 

The pair died in their sleep from a suspected gas leak while holidaying at the Cradle Boutique Hotel in Krugersdorp last month.  

After a Sowetan inquiry into the status of the department’s investigation, it sent the preliminary report on Wednesday but later withdrew it for further editing. 

A final report is to be completed in 90 days, the department said. 


The report revealed that the two women were given an outdoor gas heater to warm themselves during their Easter weekend stay in their luxury tent at the hotel west of Joburg. The department also said the two guests were not shown how the heater worked.

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“The gas heater is designed for outdoors but in this instance it was used inside a tent where ventilation is restricted. This could be a contributing factor under investigation. The induction of clients or tenants on the safe use of equipment was not confirmed. The manual was not made available,” read the report.

The luxury tent was in the campsite of the hotel.

“There was no[t] enough ventilation inside the tent. The tent is divided into two, the sleeping area and the bathroom. The bathroom is the only area that has floor opening and the roof but the sleeping area was sealed,” said the report.

The gas heater was taken to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association of SA (LPGSA) for further investigation.

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“The finding shows that several attempts to switch on the heater failed but the gas was not closed on the cylinder… the gas cylinder was still having gas during the preliminary investigation.” 

The two had checked in on April 15 and requested a blanket and a gas heater from the tent manager the same day. They were found dead the next morning after not pitching up for breakfast. 

The hotel has since been given a prohibition notice by the department to cease the usage of outdoor gas heaters in tents while investigations continue.

Spokesperson for the Cradle Nature Reserve, Charmain Naidoo, said they disagree with the department’s findings.

“This is a preliminary report with which we do not entirely agree. The matter is still under investigation and we are co-operating with the department of labour. We are therefore not in a position to comment,” she said.

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Zikhona Ntshingila from the LPGSA also said they would not comment while investigations are still taking place.

Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster, spokesperson for the Mcunu family, said they are still waiting for investigations to conclude.

“At this point, the family have only learnt via the media that a report has been released. Neither SAPS nor Cradle Boutique Hotel have contacted us regarding this case. Once we receive the report we will study it and respond accordingly,” said Hlazo-Webster.

Mcunu, the founder of organisation Black Women in Science, and Mnomiya were friends for more than 20 years after meeting at primary school in KwaZulu-Natal.


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