ANC, DA face off over Tembisa shack fire

Residents trying to put the fire out. (Tshidi Madia, News24)
Residents trying to put the fire out. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

The ANC has hit back at the DA, accusing it of "stooping low in a poor attempt to remain relevant".

This is after the opposition party accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of turning his back on a shack fire in Tswelopele informal settlement in Tembisa.

The fire broke out as Ramaphosa was finishing his address to hundreds of residents as part of the party's election campaign in Ekhuruleni.

Ten informal dwellings caught fire.

Some of the people in attendance at Ramaphosa's mini rally left to attend to the fire when smoke began billowing a short distance away from where he was speaking.

A short while earlier, Ramaphosa had promised that government would attend to electrifying the settlement and giving residents decent houses.

Ramaphosa and his ANC delegation left the area when he finished speaking while residents used buckets to douse the fire.

Food parcels, blankets distributed

DA spokesperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe accused Ramaphosa of being "dreadfully uncaring and highly hypocritical" for speeding off in his "bulletproof convoy while the houses burnt down".

"The DA calls on Ramaphosa to apologise to this community and to give them detailed timelines on when their community will receive services without delay.

"Instead of making their community into a campaign platform, he ought to have dealt with their serious service backlog that keeps the community in oppressive poverty," Nt'sekhe said in a statement.

The ANC hit back, accusing the DA of misleading the nation instead of going to the ground to help the community.

"Following the fire break out (sic), President Ramaphosa immediately instructed the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Mzwandile Masina to attend to the unfortunate incident and ensure that the situation is stabilised, the safety of the families is secured, and the necessary relief is dispersed," spokesperson Pule Mabe said.

The leadership of the ANC in Ekurhuleni wasted no time in attending to the situation, coordinating food parcels and blankets for the affected families, Mabe said.

The visit to the area is part of the ANC's massive election campaign, dubbed "Thuma Mina". The top six of the ANC and other senior leaders visited hospitals, distributed title deeds and engaged with residents.

"Today's incident, unfortunate as it was, to the contrary, validates the ANC's reasons to launch the Thuma Mina campaign to decisively intervene on issues affecting society," Mabe said.

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