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

2016-02-02 10:53
Aviwe Matiwane overlooks the place where her house used to be. (Paul Herman, News24)

Aviwe Matiwane overlooks the place where her house used to be. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - A 26-year-old mother living in the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay has spent the night sleeping in her car with her 7-month-old baby boy after another shack fire burnt down their home.

Aviwe Matiwane told News24 on Tuesday that she couldn't go anywhere until the City of Cape Town brings material for the residents to rebuild their homes.

"I don't have any clothes anymore," she said, when asked what she has lost.

"We're waiting for material from the city to build another house. But I don't know where I'm gonna live [until then]. We slept in my car last night," she said, clutching her baby.

Approximately 240 people were displaced in the latest fire to ravage the congested informal settlement.

The fire started in the Dontse-Yakhu section of the settlement around 15:00 on Monday afternoon, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Layne told News24.                                            

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

Another resident, 39-year-old Eric Masngeni, said he was preparing for a job interview later this month, but didn't know if he could go now after losing all of his clothes.

"I'm worried... I have no job and I'm going to look for work, but I have no clothes."

Eric Masngeni stands on the place where his home used to be with just the clothes on his back at Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. (Paul Herman, News24)

Masngeni was one of many residents and SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) community members who were assisting with the clean-up operation on Tuesday.    

The fire allegedly started just metres away from his home at a neighbour's house.

The 39-year-old, standing with just the clothes on his back, said he would stay with his brother while they rebuilt his home.

Sanco chairperson for Imizamo Yethu, Samkelo 'Gary' Krweqe, told News24 the clean-up operations after fires usually lasted two to three days, but the rebuilding process could stretch beyond a month.

Krweqe said the latest fire was the fifth one to occur in four months, and pleaded with the City to aid in providing safe electricity.

(Paul Herman, News24)

The cause of the fire was still to be determined, Layne said.

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.

(Paul Herman, News24)

(Paul Herman, News24)

(Paul Herman, News24)

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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