It’s back to square one for residents of Jika Joe who lost everything in inferno

2013-09-10 00:00

TENTS, disaster shelters and donated blankets are small reprieves from the cold and rainy weather for the Jika Joe informal settlement residents who lost their homes in Sunday’s inferno.

Cleaning up the area yesterday, residents expressed their concern over sending their children to school as their uniforms had been burnt.

For Dombi Zakwe, she was happy that at least they “were provided with blankets and shelter to sleep after the fire left us destitute”.

But the challenge for her was providing school uniforms for her son Vukile (6), a Grade 1 pupil at Russell Primary in Sobantu. “My son has not been to school because we lost his uniform in the fire and we are afraid he might end up failing if I don’t get help from anyone because I can’t afford to buy it as I don’t have a job,” said Zakwe.

Others were already beginning to rebuild their informal dwellings because they did not want to rely on the tents provided by the Msunduzi Municipality to temporarily house them.

Another resident, Bafanyana Bhengu, complained bitterly about not being given adequate space in the tents.

“I have been living here since 1991 and I have built 10 rooms for my family and 10 rooms for my tenants and all I get is a small space in the tent,” he said.

Bhengu, who sat on the plot where his house had been, spoke, with tears flowing down his face, about having to start from scratch. “At 63 years of age I have no energy to fight with unfair people,” Bhengu.

Community leader Thembinkosi Magagula said he was grateful to the Msunduzi Municipality, Red Cross and Gift of the Givers for their assistance.

He appealed to Maritzburgers to help by donating used clothes, furniture, cutlery, kitchen utensils and anything else to help the affected community.

Magagula said those interested in helping out could donate items at the Tatham sports field where the people have been temporarily sheltered in tents.

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