Cape Town - Following the devastating fire that displaced hundreds of families in Joe Slovo, Langa last month, electricity to the area is being restored.
The City is expecting to spend R1million for the installation of overhead connections and prepaid meters.
The low-voltage backing was completed last week at a cost of R460000.
Energy mayco member Beverley van Reenen said City teams would ensure their best to complete the work in the coming weeks.
“We’re pleased with the support and co-operation of the community as we move to improve the living conditions of the fire-affected households. These households in Langa form part of a larger reconnection drive of households across the metro that have been cut off from electricity supply due to fire.
“In City-supplied areas, where practically and legally possible, almost 100% of longer existing informal settlements have been connected to electricity,” she said.
Van Reenen said the City would continue its awareness drives and other interventions to reduce fires in informal settlements.
“We encourage community leaders, organisations, and residents to help us prevent the occurrence of fires such as this one, which can mostly be prevented if flames are not left unattended,” she said.
Following the fire, the City applied for emergency funding. However, during her visit, Human Settlements Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete said discrepancies in the number of victims affected by the fire posed a challenge in approving funding. Funding would be used solely for emergency temporary housing, she said.
Ward councillor Thembelani Nyamakazi said the majority of affected residents had already rebuilt their shacks. Nyamakazi reiterated that there was need for re-blocking the shacks in order to avoid further fires.
National Department of Human Settlements director-general Mbulelo Tshangana said it was in the process of verifying details of the funding beneficiaries.
“We have revised the modus operandi and can approve the application in 24 hours but what has always been a challenge is the availability of people’s ID numbers.
“There will be no approval of the application unless those affected people with their ID numbers have been submitted and verified and this proves to be a tall order to get those numbers. We had to go to Home Affairs and the site to get the list of the people affected,” he said.
Tshangana said the department could not do a” blanket approval” as this could result in the provision of temporary shelter to undeserving people.
“While the process of verification is time-consuming, it is important as we can’t be solving a problem by creating another. In an informal settlement for every unit that we build, even if it’s temporary, it needs to be linked to a beneficiary and an ID number and without the two, we don’t have controls,” he said.
Tshagana said that he has yet to confirm with the department’s team whether a site assessment had been done, but he did confirm that the City had completed its assessment.