Fire destroys 31 shacks

2019-10-03 06:00

Residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa who lost almost everything in the latest fire in the area, have urged the City of Cape Town to relocate them to the new houses built in Delft, citing their lives are in danger.

The fire destroyed 31 shacks on Monday 30 September and left at least 76 people homeless. The cause is still unknown and the victims had to spend the night with friends and relatives.

One of the victims, Nomalizo Tsheme said she managed to escape with only her handbag. All her other belongings were destroyed in the fire.

She said she was visiting her friend at Zone 26 when the fire broke out. “I received a WhatsApp message from my neighbour informing me about the fire. I ran to my shack and on my arrival it had already started burning. I kicked the door open, grabbed my bag which was hanging behind the door, and ran out again,” she said.

She lost her bed, cupboard and suitcase with her clothes. Luckily her important documents were in her handbag.

Tsheme, the mother of a three-year-old, said she is concerned about finding a place to sleep and providing food for her child.

“I don’t know where we are going to sleep because my relatives stay in Samora Machel in Philippi. For now I’ll ask my friends in Langa if I can sleep there.”

Tsheme said she has been living in the same shack for 14 years. Little development has taken place in Joe Slovo during this time. “It’s the third time now that I’m affected by a shack fire and it is clear incidents like these will never stop until people get proper houses.”

The City’s fire and rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said no injuries or fatalities were reported and that the cause of the fire is unknown.

Ward 52 councillor, Samkelo John, said all the fire victims received new building material from the City to rebuild their shacks. “The people that have been affected by the shack fire are not on the database for houses. They occupied the land illegally,” said John.

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