Philippi fire victims slowly rebuild their lives

2018-10-24 11:47
Residents clear debris and rebuild in Kosovo after the fire. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

Residents clear debris and rebuild in Kosovo after the fire. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

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It was the second fire to hit a Cape Town community this weekend, after a ravaging blaze on Saturday morning destroyed 342 homes and structures and left 1 300 homeless in Khayelitsha.

Read more: More than 1 300 homeless after Khayelitsha blaze

In Kosovo, engineering students Akhona Jezile and Thandiswa Ngambu have not been to college since Monday, GroundUp reports.

"The college is aware that we are busy rebuilding our shack. Though we are short of about six bags of cement for the floor we are building, the four walls and roofing will be done by the end of the day (Tuesday)," said Jezile.

Thembakazi Simolasi, who is 29 and unemployed, was helping her neighbours to rebuild.

"I am not sure when I will receive my own material. In the meantime, I decided to assist neighbours so that they in turn help me whenever my material is supplied."

Not enough supplies to rebuild

Simolasi said she was waiting for the City of Cape Town to supply materials and was relying on the food brought by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) daily.

She said Sassa had brought blankets on Tuesday afternoon.

Some people are borrowing money from friends and relatives to buy building materials to supplement the kits provided by the City. Many say their shacks had two or three rooms and the material supplied by the City is not sufficient.

"We thank the City for supplying building material, but it is only for one room. Originally, my shack was divided into two rooms and I still want to maintain that size," said Fezeka Feni.

Her brother lent her R570 to buy 25 planks and two packets of nails.

Feni and her family are currently staying with friends and hope to move back to their home soon.

Read: Thousands more left homeless following another Cape Town fire

City fire kits 'enhanced'

The City said Sassa was the lead agency for humanitarian assistance.

Shivani Wahab, senior communications manager at Sassa, said: "We have been providing humanitarian relief... from the onset of the disasters over the weekend. Relief is provided in the form of hot meals, dignity packs and mattresses to those who were displaced."

In a press release the City said "enhanced emergency fire kits are in the process of being issued to all affected". The kits now "consist of 25 zinc sheets; 14 wooden poles which are fire-treated; three packets of nails; a door; door hinges; a window frame and a window". It said 90% of the kits had been issued to residents in Kosovo.

"There has been an overwhelming response from residents to calls for donations to assist the fire-affected residents. There is still a need for household items such as blankets, bedding, curtains and clothing," said mayoral committee member for Area South, councillor Eddie Andrews.

Donations of money can be made to the Mayoral Relief Fund (GroundUp and News24 have no responsibility for this account or how the funds are spent):

Bank: Nedbank

If you would like to donate to News24's aid project, in partnership with Gift of the Givers, cash donations can be made to: 

Gift of the Givers

Also read: Khayelitsha fire: How you can help the victims

Readers who want to give to the effort in other ways can drop off donations at News24's offices at 40 Heerengracht in Cape Town and 69 Kingsway Avenue in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, between 09:00 and 16:00 from Tuesday to Thursday.

The following items are needed:

Bottled water, blankets, new clothing, school uniforms, stationery packs, mattresses, towels, hygiene packs, food parcels, plastic utensils and building material. (No second-hand items, please.)

Deposit slips can be sent to for acknowledgment. Please also email Gift of the Givers for a section 18A tax deductible certificate.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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