Government announces R32m in relief funding after devastating Masiphumelele fire

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About 1 000 homes were gutted in a fire in Masiphumelele.
About 1 000 homes were gutted in a fire in Masiphumelele.
City of Cape Town
  • Government has made R32 million available to assist residents of Masiphumelele in Cape Town after a fire left them homeless.
  • The money will assist with temporary structures, water and sanitation facilities.
  • The fire was allegedly the result of an illegal land occupation.

After a fire destroyed about 1 000 structures in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, leaving thousands of people homeless, government has confirmed it would provide an estimated R32 million in relief funding.

The money will be used to provide temporary structures and water and sanitation facilities to the affected residents.

News24 previously reported that the fire in the area was allegedly the result of an illegal land occupation on 17 December.

READ | Fire that displaced 5 000 people in Masiphumelele allegedly caused by illegal land occupation

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu met with Western Cape MEC Tertius Simmers and City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi on Tuesday to "fast-track" relief and aid to residents of the Masiphumelele and Taiwan informal settlements.

According to a statement, the three spheres of government, together with the Housing Development Agency, confirmed that the estimated R32 million has been made available.

6 000 residents affected

"The area was declared a disaster to enable resources to be allocated for the immediate relief and response to more than 6 000 residents affected by the fire," read a joint statement.

"Some residents will be accommodated on a nearby sports field, while others will be assisted on part of an affected fire site that has been cleared. Erection of the temporary structures will commence immediately."

Last week, the office of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato distributed more than 1 100 food parcels, mattresses and blankets to the affected residents.

The food parcels consisted of non-perishable items and was meant to feed a family of four for two weeks.

This was in addition to donations received from the public and organisations providing relief.

"The City is committed to ensuring the immediate solutions for the Masiphumelele community are implemented as instructed, as quickly possible," Booi said.

PICS | City appeals for help after fire guts 1 000 dwellings in Cape Town

"Much more work remains to be done at Masiphumelele and we urge the community to please be patient while the City, Western Cape government and national government start with the implementation on the ground within this week."

The Taiwan informal settlement in Khayelitsha was also destroyed by a fire that affected 500 residents in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Sisulu, accompanied by Simmers and Booi, visited the area on Monday.

'Bound to happen'

However, it was said that relief to the area was a challenge due to the density of the settlement.

Affected residents have been accommodated in a nearby church while the site was being cleared. Gift of the Givers was also on site assisting with food, while the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was provided with a list of affected Taiwan community members to provide further relief.

Sisulu, however, said the incident in Taiwan was "bound to happen" as there was no space between structures in the area.

"We have decided to work as a cluster, including the Department of Social Development, so that we maximise our impact. We have also met with the community leadership of Masiphumelele, who have been very cooperative and very positive in their inputs," she said.

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