City doesn't care about us - Hout Bay fire victims

2016-02-02 15:00
Residents and SANCO community members clear the rubble after another fire hit Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay. (Paul Herman, News24)

Residents and SANCO community members clear the rubble after another fire hit Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - Residents of the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay have said they are sick and tired of being ignored by the City of Cape Town, after another shack fire burnt through 26 homes in the area.

About 240 people have been displaced after a shack fire sparked in the Dontse-Yakhu section of the settlement around 15:00 on Monday afternoon, Cape Town Fire and Rescue’s Theo Layne told News24.

Twenty-six homes were burnt to the ground, while another six were partially damaged.

The Dontse-Yakhe section sits atop the southern slopes of Imizamo Yethu, overlooking the rest of Hout Bay, and is the furthest from running water and operational electricity in the settlement.

SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) chairperson for the area Samkelo "Gary" Krweqe told News24 on Tuesday that residents had had enough following the second fire in a month. 

'City works for you' just a logo

"We are sick and tired. This problem comes from a lack of electricity, and we have asked the City to help us.

"They say this 'City Works For You' but we feel that's only a logo on their T-shirts," Krweqe said.

Krweqe claimed the problem comes with residents of the settlement having to share electricity with their neighbours via cables.

When power was switched off in the main home, and then switched back on again, the second home's appliances were more likely to catch fire if the second resident was not home to switch it off, he claimed.

"If we are pushed, we are prepared to go to the streets and make our voices known. We are sick and tired [of their promises]," Krweqe continued.


Residents and SANCO community members clear the rubble after another fire hit Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay. (Paul Herman, News24)

- Read more: I don't know where we're going to live - Hout Bay fire victim

Krweqe, also a resident in the area, said it is the fifth fire in which he has had to oversee a clean-up operation in four months.

He also said he didn't understand why the housing budget for Imizamo Yethu had been cut by R6m this year, despite the settlement’s great need.

In December last year, one man died and more than a 1 000 residents were left homeless after a fire broke out in the settlement.

One month before that, more than 200 people were left homeless after more than 30 shacks burnt down, while in August three people died after a fire broke out in the same location, burning down three wooden structures.

The city’s Human Settlements spokesperson for Imizamo Yethu, Levona Powell, could not be reached for comment when contacted by News24.

(Paul Herman, News24)

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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