MP visits ‘fire-prone’ townships

2018-05-24 06:00
Some of the fire victims of Simanyene Informal Settlement who received blankets from ANC MP Thandi Mahambehlala on Saturday 19 May. PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

Some of the fire victims of Simanyene Informal Settlement who received blankets from ANC MP Thandi Mahambehlala on Saturday 19 May. PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

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ANC member of Parliament Thandi Mahambehlala has promised to engage the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande on the Sanral-owned land so it can be transferred to “our people”.

Thousands of residents live on Sanral- owned land and have recently been victims of fires.

Mahambehlala told City Vision that, as a result of the land being owned by Sanral, it has been impossible for the informal settlements to be upgraded.

As a result, residents resorted to using illegal electricity connections.

The ANC National Executive Committee member said this on Saturday 19 May, when she visited Pholile A and Simanyene informal settlement to hand out blankets to fire victims.

“As we walked through this area you could see some areas were not suitable for human beings to live. But the challenge here is that this land is privately owned by Sanral and that makes it difficult to bring resources to our people. Even national government cannot assist them, but as soon as the land is available interventions can take place,” she said.

Last week about 10 shacks were gutted by a blaze, which left a number of people homeless (“Inferno razes 10 homes”, City Vision, 17 May).

A community leader, Noxolo Silala, thanked the ANC MP for “dropping” whatever she was doing to come to their “dirty” area.

“We appreciate your support a great deal and hope these blankets will play a role in trying to comfort these people,” she said. “They have lost everything, so anything that comes is most welcome.”

Residents have long been calling for the electrification of the informal settlements and believe the fires will then abate.

Another community leader, Mwezi Lugwali from Pholile A, said: “As leaders of these communities we believe it is important for politicians to show their faces in our areas – and not only wait when there are elections around the corner. She brought 100 blankets and donated to fire victims of Pholile A, but they showed no interest at all.

“Our people want something concrete. All the leaders who come here speak different languages.”

This is the reason the community decided to fight for themselves.

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