Jika Joe residents blame city for inadequate help after blaze

2014-09-02 00:00

JIKA Joe informal settlement residents have slated Msunduzi Municipality for not providing adequate assistance to fire victims.

Over 450 residents were left destitute on Friday when a fire engulfed about 200 homes. It is alleged the blaze broke out when municipal staff were removing illegal electricity connections in the area.

Yesterday, residents told The Witness of their ordeal. “The municipality did not bring enough tents and some residents still sleep outside. It’s cold,” said Nompumelelo Sithole who has been living in the area for four years.

“They brought us raw food but how are we going to cook it while we don’t have stoves? I lost everything. I’m still wearing the same clothes since Friday. I cannot even go for my baby’s social grant because the card was burnt.”

Sithole said good Samaritans have been helping with providing food. Another resident said they were not provided with toilets. “We relieve ourselves on a nearby sports ground.”

Some residents could be seen rebuilding their shacks. “Many people did not get tents. They told us not to rebuild them but what can we do? We have been sleeping outside for the past three nights,” said a man who refused to be named.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

“Temporary structures have been provided. There is a meeting today [yesterday] to pave the way forward.”

Mayor Chris Ndlela, Premier Senzo Mchunu and Human Settlement and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay are expected to visit the area today.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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