DESTITUTE: Four families lost their belongings in a blaze that broke out in the Riemvasmaak informal settlement.
Cape Town - The reason the South African Social Security Agency didn’t respond with disaster relief for families whose belongings were destroyed in a fire last week, was because the agency didn’t know about it.

Four families lost everything when their homes in the informal settlement of Riemvasmaak, near Strandfontein, were razed on Wednesday.

The City and province have slammed Sassa for failing in its mandated duty to provide relief to the families.

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Agency spokesperson Shivani Wa­hab said: “We were not aware of the disaster. Personnel have since been dispatched to conduct an assessment.”

An agency team was sent to the Riemvasmaak community yesterday to deliver supplies.

“Sassa was there in the morning and they handed out toilet paper and toothpaste, which, I think, is totally pathetic,” said ward councillor Elgan Fortune.

“City officials told me Sassa had not provided them with any relief,” Fortune said. “This is their responsibility, not ours.”

The agency said would ask for a meeting with the City of Cape Town’s JP Smith to “get clarity on the roles”.

However, Smith hit back, saying the agency had been aware of the fire.

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Cape Argus