‘No tents’ after Jika Joe fire sees families sleeping in the open

2017-07-17 14:04
Children at Jika Joe were seen searching for nails to help their parents rebuild their shacks.

Children at Jika Joe were seen searching for nails to help their parents rebuild their shacks. (Nompilo Kunene)

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Many Jika Joe residents returned home on Saturday afternoon to find their houses razed after a fire broke out, leaving over 20 families homeless.

When The Witness visited Jika Joe, along Ash Road, on Sunday many residents who had lost their homes were seen searching through the ashes and rubble hoping to find some of their belongings.

A Jika Joe resident, Jabulani Mokoena, said he was among the first people who saw the fire and tried to extinguish it while waiting for the firefighters. “The fire started at around 2.30 pm at one of the shacks in the middle.

“The whole community tried to extinguish the fire to prevent it from spreading but the flames were too big for us to manage,” he said.

Mokoena, who owns several shacks in the area that he rents out to tenants, said many of his neighbours and tenants returned to their homes that had been destroyed.

“A young man had left a paraffin stove on top of an electrical stove and we suspect that’s how the fire started,” said Mokoena.

Posetso Molefe said he was also around the area when the fire broke out. “I managed to run and take out all of my clothes and most of my belongings before the fire destroyed my home,” he said.

Alex Mokeone, who was one of the residents who lost everything in the fire, said this was the second time his shack has burnt down in the five years he has lived at Jika Joe.

He said the clothes on his back were all he was left with and he was planning to rebuild his house and restart his life.

Residents said disaster management came to help on Saturday evening and gave them blankets, but said they had no tents, resulting in many of them sleeping out in the open.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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