Fire claims two lives at SST

2019-11-28 06:01
A shack that was destroyed in the fire in SST. PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

A shack that was destroyed in the fire in SST. PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

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Acouple died in a shack fire at Charlton Zondo Street in SST, Town Two on Tuesday 26 November. Noluvuyo Betela (30) died on the scene while her boyfriend Mxolisi Mbilini (43), who had suffered serious burn wounds, died later the day in the Khayelitsha District Hospital.

The cause of the fire was still unknown at the time of going to print.

When City Vision arrived at the site, charred metal sheets were visible in the aftermath. Neighbour Ntsikelelo Mpengesi said he was woken up by a knock around midnight. “I heard people knocking but they were not talking. I thought it was someone running away from criminals,” said Mpengesi. It was only when he heard his other neighbour screaming for help that he realised something was amiss.

He said he woke up to discover that the shack was on fire. Flames were coming out through the holes, said Mpengesi. With the assistance of other residents, they managed to kick open the door.

He said the man was lying behind the door as though he was trying to open it to escape. “He covered him with a blanket,” said Mpengesi, adding they did not see his girlfriend due to huge flames.

Mpengesi described the pair as “a nice couple”. “As neighbours we didn’t have problems with them,” he stated.

Ward 93 councillor Thando Pimpi lambasted the City for delaying building houses for people living on service sites at SST. “This is one of the many service sites in the area. They have been here for more than 20 years waiting for the City to build their houses. When I arrived at the councillor’s office in 2017, these people were already here waiting for their houses,” he said, adding there are more than 150 people staying on service sites at SST.

Pimpi vowed to establish a task team to investigate the delay and verify the beneficiaries.

“Many people are coming to my office every day complaining that the human settlements department informed them that they received their houses a long time ago while they are still staying in shacks. So, that tells us that there is a criminal element and I need to root that out,” he stated..

The City’s mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said this matter relates to a People’s Housing Process (PHP) contractor that went into liquidation and left a number of units incomplete.

“The City together with the Western Cape Government has started a process to complete all these outstanding units,” he said adding the provincial government is finalising the funding process for some of the units after which construction will be completed.

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