Plot ‘still littered’ after fire

2018-02-20 06:00
The aftermath of a fire at a Tafelsig home. PHOTO: SAmantha Lee

The aftermath of a fire at a Tafelsig home. PHOTO: SAmantha Lee

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A family is still separated after a fire destroyed their home more than two months ago.

With the site still littered with burnt belongings, rubble and ash, the family says they are yet to receive assistance from the council and their insurance company.

They state they have also been in contact with their local councillor in hopes of having something done to improve their safety on the plot, to no avail.

The open property, neighbouring Wolfgat Nature Reserve, has now become a thoroughfare for people who walk through the plot at all hours of the evening and morning, the family says.

The plot has also become a dumping site for rubble and personal affects, along with additional dumping from passers by, the family says, adding to their worry.

Some of the family have moved back to the plot recently but cannot sleep as a result of constant worry.

City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) spokesperson Charlotte Powell says the City is aware of the incident and have offered the family assistance.

“Ordinarily, the City does not provide assistance when a home is privately owned. However, in cases where a property is privately owned, residents can approach their local Sassa office for a grant for fire victims. They would require an affidavit and fire report which they can get from their local fire station.

“Should the grant be approved, the DRMC will activate one of its non-governmental partners to provide assistance,” says Powell.

“In the event that a fire is on Council-owned property or an informal setting, the DRMC will liaise with Solid Waste to remove rubble – usually within a matter of hours or days, depending on availability. In this particular instance, Solid Waste conducted a follow up inspection and found no fire debris on the property.”

The rest of the property must be cleaned by the owners, she says.

The family confirms they have received roofing sheets and a few beams but needed to source materials on their own in order to build a Wendy house on the property. This is still not big enough or their family of 10.

But the City says they only provide relief for people living on City-owned property.

“Cape Town is the only city in South Africa that has service level agreements with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for humanitarian relief in instance of disaster like floods or fires,” she says.

“In the event of a local disaster, DRMC staff conduct an assessment to determine the number of people affected and their specific needs.

“Once the assessment is completed, an NGO is activated to provide relief. NGO partners like the Mustadafin Foundation, Salvation Army and Historically Disadvantaged Individual (HDI) provide relief including food, blankets and vanity packs to affected communities. Their claims for reimbursement are verified by the Disaster Risk Management Centre who then submits it to the Sassa for payment,” says Powell.

“This assistance is available to indigent individuals only, residing in informal or City-owned dwellings.

“In this particular instance, the DRMC activated the Mustadafin Foundation to provide humanitarian ­relief.”

V Residents can report fires by dialling 021 480 7700 or 107 from a cellphone. They can seek assistance or advice from the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, their local housing office or via their ward councillor­.

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