Shack fires burn man to death

2015-12-03 06:00
About 125 shacks were destroyed by fire in Joe Slovo, Langa, on Saturday night.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

About 125 shacks were destroyed by fire in Joe Slovo, Langa, on Saturday night. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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One resident burnt to death and about 500 others were left homeless after a fire destroyed about 125 shacks in Langa on Saturday night.

Councillor Mayenzeke Sopaqa, of Ward 52, said it was not clear what caused the fire in Joe Slovo informal settlement which claimed the life of Jeffery Nogogo,42.

Nogogo was asleep in his shack when the fire started at about 10pm, according to reports.

Vuyisa Nogogo, who has shared the shack with his deceased brother since 2004, said he arrived back from friend to find his sibling burnt to ashes on the fateful night.

“I feel very bad about what happened. I never expected this. We do not even have money to bury him. I appeal to anyone who can help us raise funds for his funeral. He has a three month old boy,” he said.

The deceased, who made a living out of casual work, is due to be buried in Ngcobo, in the Eastern Cape, but the date has not been announced yet.

Nogogo said this was the second time they have experienced fire in as many years, the first being in 2005.

“We lost everything we had in both fires. I wish to get a decent house now,” he added.

Mxolisi Bubi, 27, one of the victims of the fire, said he lost everything he had in the flames.

“I am left with the clothes that I am wearing now. I was asleep when it started and I had to jump out of bed and run to save my life. I do not know how I will replace my belongings because I am unemployed,” he said.

Bubi stayed with his four year old nephew in the shack.

Thembeka Mto, 37, also a victim, said she lost R650 in cash and all her other belongings.

“I lost everything in the flames. I so wish that the government can give each one of us at least R500 hamper to buy groceries for Christmas, because we also lost groceries that we already bought,” Mto said.

Sopaqa said it always becomes a challenge to get the real cause of the fire as no one comes out to claim responsibility.

He said the unavailability of access to the area also contributed to the high number of shacks catching fire.

“Fire fighters could not have access to the area, because of the way shacks are built. There is no space between the shacks, which caused delays in extinguishing the runaway fire.

“I appeal to all spheres of government to take the issue of fire in informal settlements very seriously by finding a way to eradicate shacks. It is a very dangerous thing,” Sopaqa said. He also said residents on the list to get houses and their names approved will move-into their houses in due course.

Three weeks ago, another fire incident destroyed more than 40 shacks.

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