Police demolish newly-built homes at Jika Joe

2014-09-04 00:00

MUNICIPAL police used chainsaws to mow down newly-built structures at Jika Joe informal settlement yesterday.

Amidst much protest the structures of those who were left without shelter after the fire there last week were demolished.

Scores of residents could be seen with their belongings outside their shacks while municipal security guards were hard at work.

Over 450 residents were left homeless when a fire engulfed more than 200 homes last week. It is alleged that the fire may have broken out while municipal staff were removing illegal electricity connections. The municipality provided tents to some of the victims but those who didn’t get tents had been at the mercy of the elements.

Babalwa Bhambatha said she nearly got hurt when her shack was brought down. “I was inside my shack when they started demolishing it. The roof almost fell on top of me because I was trying to take my belongings outside,” Bhambatha said.

“We did not get tents. We have been sleeping outside. We would build a fire and stay there the whole night. I don’t know what to do.”

A municipal security guard, who asked not to be named, said residents were warned not to rebuild the structures. “… The area community committee know people should not be building here,” he said.

Premier Senzo Mchunu, Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay and municipal officials addressed the residents this week and vowed to eradicate informal settlements.

The city could not be reached for comment.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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