A devastating fire that swept through the Hadji Ebrahim informal settlement in Belgravia on Sunday 14 February is still under investigation.
The fire saw 31 wood and iron structures destroyed, leaving 123 people displaced and claimed the life of a man.
But fires of this kind are not uncommon.
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi says the City has spent more than R100 million on fire relief for victims of fires in informal settlements.
“The City has spent approximately R106 million over the previous three financial years compared to R169 million in total over the preceding decade.
“This shows significant increase in costs due to the substantial unplanned growth in existing settlements and in the formation of new informal settlements,” says Booi.
City officials, including disaster management teams, were deployed to the scene to assist the fire victims.
Last week, mayor Dan Plato, provincial minister for social development Sharna Fernandez and other officials visited the informal settlement.
Plato also handed over various staple food items to victims.
“Every instance of fire is assessed and a specific approach is developed as all instances will have unique circumstances.
“The City enables and facilitates soft relief, such as donations, site clearing, verification and assessments for assistance,” says Booi.
The City is also appealing to residents to assist the fire victims with social relief in the form of food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing and building material.
Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue services, says various departments are offering ongoing fire safety awareness in areas prone to fires.
“A number of City departments conduct ongoing fire safety awareness and education programmes, including the fire and rescue service, disaster risk management centre and the human settlements directorate,” he says.
However, he adds: “Any area is vulnerable to fire, particularly where precautionary measures that can be instituted are not adhered to.
“This includes not maintaining fire breaks, the construction of structures too close to one another, and also disregard for fire safety practices in the home – in spite of ongoing education and awareness campaigns by the City.”