Cape Town - Windy conditions in Cape Town have wreaked havoc on an informal settlement near the N2 in Langa, where a blaze destroyed seven shacks and left 14 people homeless.
Councillor Thembelani Nyamakazi said he was grateful that no one was injured, but was saddened that shack residents were always left to fend for themselves when fires destroyed what they call home.
“Whenever residents find themselves in such situations, they expect help before having to go and seek for a place to sleep at relatives’ houses.
“It is sad having to see people hopeless. These people deserve proper houses without having to wait almost a decade, if not more, to get them.
“Yes, maybe some did get RDP houses, but when the situation is like this they all look miserable and deserving of better service.
“In most cases the issue of fires in informal settlements brings about political differences and that is something we cannot run away from, but my call in all of this is to have people assisted in their time of distress.”
City Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said they received an emergency call at 9.05am reporting that informal structures were burning in Langa.
Fire crews from Epping, Goodwood and Ottery were dispatched to the scene.
Officers battled the blaze and it was extinguished just after 10am. The initial estimate is that seven informal structures were destroyed and 14 people displaced. He said the cause of the fire was unknown.
Dr Jonty Cogger of social housing organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi said: “Regrettably, incidents like fires and floods will persist in densely populated areas where adequate housing is a distant dream for many.
This crisis yet again underscores the pressing need for a concerted government initiative to construct housing for the less privileged.