LETTER: What City, residents do with shack fires

2016-03-29 06:00

With winter on our doorstep and the first chill felt in the Mother City, we dread the devastation and loss of life and property suffered by shack dwellers in informal settlements.

Ongoing education regarding the threat of open fires remains a priority, and some media reports purport that the blame must be placed on local government in respect of the cause of shack fires.

The misleading reports cover most of the bases, except for explaining the narrative and implications of informal settlements on private land.

Legally, the City of Cape Town, provincial government or other authorities are prohibited from building electrical or plumbing infrastructure on private land where informal settlements have sprung up.

But the City is proactive in supplying portable toilets to prevent the potential spread of disease.

Another stumbling block, as reported, is that local informal settlement residents ironically stone firefighters and incur much damage to firefighting vehicles when arriving to extinguish fires.

These brave officials are deployed to help the very shack dwellers.

To alleviate their plight of experiencing devastating fires, the initiative to use alternative solar energy and photovoltaic installations by the community leadership of the Siqalo informal settlement in Mitchell’s Plain has been welcomed.

“God gave us the sun and the wind. Best that we use them,” as quipped by a local.

Mark Kleinschmidt, Kenwyn

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