An off-duty policeman risked his life to save five-year-old Aphiwe Nkozi who was caught in a blazing home fire on Friday (16 November) afternoon.

Constable Sandile Dube from the Ladysmith police station was walking past the house when he saw the commotion. Bystanders said that he “shot like a bullet” into the house to rescue Aphiwe, who was asleep on the sofa as the fire raged in the Driefontein home.

The child’s shocked mother, Nompumelelo Nkozi told Ladysmith Herald that she was very grateful to the policeman for saving her son. The mother of four said: “I was screaming and crying, telling rushing neighbours that my son is still inside.”

She said that the police officer was walking pass, when he shot like a bullet over the fence and ran straight into the house. “My heart dropped and I fell to my knees, praying to God that my son and this man will come out of the house alive.”

The brave man crawled into house and found the boy still fast asleep in the living room. The house was completely engulfed in flames. Wetting a towel, he wrapped the child in it and run out of the house, handing the child to his overcome mother.

The constable then went back into the house to make sure to make sure that there was no one else inside.

“Aphiwe just cough and did not know what was going on.” The boy’s mother said that when she saw the fire she began screaming from the neighbour’s yard that her son was inside the house. “If Dube did not pass at the time, no would have been able to save my child’s life.”

Nkosi was visiting a neighbour for a “quick hello” when the fire broke out. “Aphiwe was asleep and the other children were playing peacefully and I could see them from where I was.”

The fire ripped through the house, destroying everything. “We have lost everything, but thank you God for Sandile Dube,” she cried adding that she could not find the words to thank the officer.

The fire ripped through the house and nothing could be salvaged. “It is going to be a difficult end to the year, as we have lost everything in the fire. School clothes, food, blankets and everything that I had owned is now gone.”