The first Masiphumelele fire victims received their temporary housing less than a month after the fire that affected 6 000 residents in the informal settlement. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
The first Masiphumelele fire victims received their temporary housing less than a month after the fire that affected 6 000 residents in the informal settlement. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Temporary housing for Masiphumelele fire victims

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Jan 11, 2021

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Cape Town - The first Masiphumelele fire victims received their temporary housing less than a month after the fire that affected 6 000 residents in the informal settlement.

The purpose is to provide the thousands of destitute people with a accommodation until the development of Alternative Building Technology (ABT) houses begins.

Community leader Thembakazi Samuel said Masiphumelele fire victims were one of the first beneficiaries.

“Most residents have been supportive of each other with providing space in their homes for the fire victims, however there were also many who were not. The community was also not fully united due to conflict between the committees and the people in the community.”

Samuel said the committee had to decide who were the most vulnerable and who should be prioritised as beneficiaries. This had caused many fights once certain decisions had been made.

“It does feel great to be one of the first beneficiaries because I will no longer have to pay rent which I was previously paying to a landowner. This was also illegal and I did not know,” she said.

Sipotwana Gcinalitshone and her sister Nosicelo Gcinalitshone are some of the Masiphumelele fire victims to be handed new structures by the Department of Human Settlement. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency
The first few structures have been handed to the Masiphumelele fire victims by the Department of Human Settlement. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers said: “Funding to the value of R32 million was released to ensure that the City can proceed to erect the temporary structures. We will be using an 18 square metre emergency relief kit and not a fire kit any more, due to these kits being depleted.”

He said it was important for that land invasions did not occur on this site because it they would prohibit and hamper what all spheres of government and community leaders had agreed upon.

Some residents will be accommodated on a nearby sports field, while others will be assisted on part of a fire site that has been cleared.

Human Settlements Mayco member Malusi Booi said: “In the next 6-8 months every beneficiary will receive a new ABT house, which will be fire resistant, have ablution facilities, a bedroom, lounge, kitchen and clean running water.”

The Housing Development Agency (HDA) is also expected to meet with the leadership on Tuesday to discuss medium to long-term solutions. A Project Steering Committee will thereafter be established. Daily meetings are being held with the leadership to engage residents.

“This is an enormous task and one that must be done with great urgency. If all goes according to plan, all of the temporary structures on the fire-affected site will be handed over by 22 February 2020. I look forward to returning to the site soon to see the progress of the structures and all of the beneficiaries in their new homes.

“I want to emphasise that we cannot have new unlawful land occupations as these will directly impact on the crisis response at the moment. Thank you to the officials who have worked hard to support these residents. I wish to also thank all members of the public and organisations who have donated food items, clothing and other items as part of the community response,” said Booi.

Cape Argus

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