Solar power can prevent shack fires

2012-10-28 13:47

Johannesburg - Solar power is the best solution to prevent shack fires, the DA Gauteng said on Sunday after three children died in a shack fire in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg.

"One solar panel with one battery can light up eight shacks," Democratic Alliance Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said in a statement.

"It costs about R2 500, which is what eight shack families would spend on candles for three months," he said

Johannesburg emergency services said three children died and their parents were injured when their shack in Vlakfontein caught fire on Saturday. The cause of the fire was not known.

Spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the children were with their parents in the shack when the fire started. The parents survived and were taken to hospital.

Bloom said 16 people had died in shack fires in Gauteng this year.

"The tragedy of shack fires can and should be eliminated," he said.

"Government should actively promote solar lighting in informal settlements, as Eskom is unlikely to electrify most of them in the near future."

  • andrew.arnesen - 2012-10-28 14:42

    Very true and a viable solution. Now we just need some political will to solve problems ecologically. I have been running panels for years and they are a cost-saver as well as life-saver when the grid power goes down. The panels are almost indestructible, having survived many bad storms including hail and are still putting out their rated power. Batteries start failing after a couple of years so an improvement in technology is definitely required there. Overall, it is the simple and very cost-effective. I am definitely looking to put in more PVA's and batteries!

      paul.nefdt - 2012-10-29 01:15

      Cheap politicking from our politicians once again. Electricity is not going to stop poor people from making a fire to stay warm, heck, even rich people have 'fire places' in their homes to stay warm, and 'mbolas' (a coal or wood cinder fire in a metal drum) is possibly just one of the causes of fires in an informal squatter camp.

      andrew.arnesen - 2012-10-29 08:17

      @Paul - Well, cheap politicking or not, it is still a good idea. I would wager that the majority of shack-dwellers would jump at the opportunity to NOT have to use wood just to make a cup of tea... They don't get the choice.

  • - 2012-10-28 15:16

    Not a bad proposal. LED lights are very low power and extremely bright.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-10-28 15:27

    That we know, but why would someone actually ask Government for money for these. It is much more important to upgrade a certain house and install these Aircons, Lifts and sporting facilities for guards who will never use them. How stupid can you be.....

  • sipho.zipi - 2012-10-28 19:28

    interesting , there are millions of people living in rural areas in mud houses and shacks and these never burn despite using fires to light and cook. so it's not the fire thats a problem. adress the cause and not the symptom.

  • nyiko.ngobeni.5011 - 2012-10-28 21:33

    They will steal the panels. Have u really been to a squatter camp?

  • bianca.cooper1 - 2012-10-29 07:22

    I think not having shacks would prevent shack fires.

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