City of Cape Town destroys shacks rebuilt by fire victims

2018-11-06 12:05
People who lost their shacks in October’s fire in Overcome Heights tried to rebuild their shacks on private land. (Bernard Chiguvare, GroundUp)

People who lost their shacks in October’s fire in Overcome Heights tried to rebuild their shacks on private land. (Bernard Chiguvare, GroundUp)

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On Friday, the City of Cape Town's anti-land invasion unit demolished 21 shacks built along the boundary of Overcome Heights and Xakabantu open field near Muizenberg.

They had been built by people who lost their shacks in the fire in Overcome Heights on October 25, GroundUp reported.

The fire destroyed more than 300 shacks and displaced more than 800 people.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements Xanthea Limberg said the structures were taken down because a group had rebuilt over the boundary line, encroaching on another property.

The City had previously instructed fire victims to rebuild on their original sites.

Overcome Heights, shack fire
People who lost their shacks in October's fire in Overcome Heights have tried to rebuild their shacks on private land because there was no longer space to rebuild in their old locations. (Bernard Chiguvare, GroundUp)

But Boniswa Mahlasela, whose rebuilt shack was destroyed, said that she received her rebuilding materials from the City on October 29 and, by then, there was no space to build her shack on its original site.

"I was renting a small space at the back of the other big shack. I had no space for rebuilding at the back, so I decided to move to the open space," she said.

Mahlasela has been staying in Overcome Heights for five years.

"I was surprised that the City demolished my shack, and am not sure where to go now. My structure was up already. I had put some of my belongings in it. My belongings were left scattered all over the place."

Andiswa Mubazha, whose home was also destroyed in the fire, built her shack on the boundary for the same reason.

"I borrowed used building material and constructed my own shack here, only to witness the City pulling it down," said Mubazha, a mother of five.

She is unemployed and depends on her children's grants to survive. Some of her children are staying with her friends.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  land  |  fires

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