New house: EFF accused of electioneering

2016-06-08 06:00
THE newly-built Korasie house in Douglas  Photos: Supplied

THE newly-built Korasie house in Douglas Photos: Supplied

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DIGNITY was returned to the Korasie family from Breipaal, Douglas, when they were handed the keys to their newly-built house on Sunday, 8 May.

The family received a newly-built house from members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after their two bedroomed house, built in 1975, and their belongings, were destroyed by fire on the night of Tuesday, 19 April.

The owner of the house, Margaret (61), was asleep inside the house with her two grandchildren (Megan and Giovanni Korasie) when they were awakened by the smoke which came from the direction of the kitchen. She said she had woken up the children and ran out of the house screaming.

He daughter Sophie, who was sleeping in the outside shack said she had been woken by her mother’s screams and ran out of the shack.

“When I saw the smoke and my mother and my two children storm out of the house, I realised what was happening and I yelled for help to the neighbours,” she said.

The fire was reportedly extinguished by friends and neighbours.

Although the local Siyancuma Municipality accused the EFF of electioneering tactics, the family has expressed appreciation for this gesture by the party and for the fact that someone had listened to their pleas.

According to the family, the municipality had been unable to assist them in their time of need and instead they (the municipality) attributed the help offered by the EFF as mere electioneering tactics.

The municipality responded, however, that they had in the past two to three months assisted more than ten shack dwellers whose houses had been destroyed during fires. Municipal manager Hastings Nel further accused the EFF of not granting the mu­nicipality enough time to respond to the situation.

“Our response time has on average been a week in the cases mentioned above.

“They (the EFF) went to the family and started breaking down and rebuilding the structure knowing full well that we had not been able to respond immediately to the situation.”

According to Nel, the matter had indeed been reported to the mayor, Lorraine Olifant, via Facebook inbox. She had followed procedural steps and had sent the ward councillor to assess what needed to be done.

He added that a technical team had then been sent to do a technical assessment.

“We need to remember the municipality operates within the ambits of the law, in the same way as the MFMA guides us as when we do procurement. This is an elections year. Unlike political parties we as municipalities, however, are constrained by the latest treasury memos as to what we can do.

“This was a formal brick and mortar structure. For a municipality of our capacity it would never be sustainable to rebuild all formal structures that are destroyed in disasters. That is why the municipality do proper assessments so as to ensure that the response is adequate and within the municipality’s capacity and competency,” explained Nel.

According to Alvin Beukes, a member of the EFF, they decided to step in and help the struggling family after realising that they could not find assistance from the muni­cipality.

The police, who were accused of only standing by while members of the community ran around to extinguish the fire with hosepipes and water buckets, have also responded.

They said the fire had already been extinguished when they had arrived at the scene. According to police spokesperson, Lt. Sergio Kock, the police arrived at the scene at 22:40.

“The fire was not that huge and was extinguished within minutes. The owner of the premises did not want to open a formal charge as she did not suspect any foul play. The police assisted the complainant in the best way possible,” Kock said.

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