Masi hall of lies

2016-02-02 06:00

I must comment on your article regarding the fire victims still accommodated in the community hall in Masi (“Many still in hall”, 26 January).

There are only 70 people accommodated in the hall, not 250 as claimed. The City of Cape Town is catering for this number and if there were more, there would be an outcry.

Lutz van Dijk’s claim of only one toilet borders on hysterical lunacy. A simple check in the hall shows: the male facilities consist of two urinals and two toilets while the female facilities consist of three toilets.

The claim by Van Dijk that the conditions are unsanitary and would result in an outbreak of communicable diseases is unfounded and borders on inflammatory. In a recent check with community leaders there proved to be no evidence to substantiate this claim.

The facilities, Van Dijk fails to point out, are in some cases far better than those in sections D and E where community-shared toilets are used.

I find the tone of Van Dijk’s comments to be inflammatory and unsubstantiated.

Chris Kroger, Email

Dr Lutz van Dijk responds:

It is obvious that you have more insight than most Masi neighbours.

Where we agree: Masi residents should speak for themselves and the conditions in the hall are not worse than those in most informal settlements (except the lack of privacy).

I differ with you that this gives any reason to accept the situation as human and safe.

In the past years, working in Masi, it became my principle never to act beyond my work at our children’s home, unless Masi residents asked for it.

Yes, you are right, there should be three toilets for women and two for men. When I visited only one was working.

And about how many are in the hall? I counted twice in the evening and there were more than 250 people preparing to sleep – another morning I counted only 20 (when most were at work or at school). You were counting 70. The city uses the figure of 84.

This Saturday it was announced that the hall would be “emptied” early this week and some would get building material and “land” (3 x 3m). And the others?

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