Relief for Masi fire victims

2019-08-06 06:00
A fire in Masiphumelele has ravaged the community and left about 1 200 people homeless.

A fire in Masiphumelele has ravaged the community and left about 1 200 people homeless.

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On Saturday 3 August, non-profit organisation (NPO) Living Hope delivered 1 000 blankets to Masiphumelele, following the devastation of the fire that erupted about a week before.

Neliswa Dondolo, a Masi resident and community development worker, reported that the official number of shacks destroyed was 256, leaving about 1 200 people having to rebuild their homes.

The fire started just after midnight on Monday 29 July and was only extinguished around 07:00. Three firefighters were hospitalised, one civilian sustained injuries and one person died.

John Thomas, director of the NPO, was eager to handover the blankets at the weekend, to keep homeless residents warm during winter. “When I placed the order for this on Thursday, I did not have money. We advertised through social media and by Friday at 15:50, we had R103 917, and we needed R 103 500. The Ackerman Family Foundation donated R50 000,” he said.

A teary-eyed Dondolo expressed her gratitude on behalf of the community.

“I have no words. I want to thank Living Hope for the work they’re doing for our community.

“Our people keep having this problem and when we have a problem we always go to Living Hope because they are always ready to help us. All the organisations around Masiphumelele are always willing to help,” said Dondolo.

The blankets were sold to Living Hope at R5 below cost price by Ahlesa Blankets in Atlantis. The sales and marketing manager of the factory, Mustafa Kus, explained why they decided to mark-down the price of blankets despite the company going through a trying time financially.

“When something bad happens, we are all human beings and our hearts also feel it. We wanted to do something, even if it was something small,” said Kus.

Sphiwe Zungu, an affected resident, expressed her appreciation for the donations: “I am very happy. I have nothing in the house – nothing, no clothes, nothing. Not even food. We have to eat here. Shoprite and KFC support us here in Masi.

“We have to come here early in the morning to get soup – me and my four children and my sister,” she said.

Brian Youngblood, Exco of the Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (FHVRRA) also sought to do his part to aid relief. He said: “Part of our Constitution says that we are there to promote the welfare of residents. Your serving Exco has proposed donating R3 000 of FHVRRA funds to our neighbours in Masiphumelele who endured another devastating fire last Sunday night.”

Most of the shacks have been rebuilt with the aid of the kits delivered by The City of Cape Town. The rest are still in the process of being rebuilt.

More than 1 500 blankets have been delivered from Living Hope and Gift of the Givers, and 500 bags worth of clothing have been donated to residents who lost everything in the fire.

On Monday 5 August, Home Affairs began visits to the area to assist residents in recovering their documentation.

Living Hope is still collecting donations.

  • Donations of non-perishable food, blankets, clothing and baby items can be dropped off at the subcouncil 19 office and the Living Hope Centre in Kommetjie Road, Fish Hoek.

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