CAPE TOWN - A 69-year-old grandmother who lost everything in the recent Langa fire says she has been forced to relocate to the Eastern Cape as she and her grandchildren have lost everything.
Nowelile Ntlatywa and her five grandchildren were among the more than 700 people displaced after a fire destroyed over 300 shacks in Joe Slovo informal settlement on April 16.
“What had happened was one of my worst nightmares. Everything I owned is gone, not only my things, but including that of my grandchildren, are gone too.
“This was a disaster and many families have been affected by this. I am on medication and all of it was burnt but fortunately the clinic understood my situation and gave me a monthly medication, at the same time it is useless to have medication but have limited access to water. However, donors have provided things such as water, food, and blankets.
“To be honest, I don’t have a life in Cape Town since I lost everything I had in my name.”
She said her grandchildren will be taken in by family members.
“I lost everything and have no means to feed or cloth them. Next month I am going to Eastern Cape and I have alerted my siblings that I am going back there. My role here was to raise my grandchildren and watch them become (adults),” said Ntlatywa.
“My children are working, they work night shifts and overtime so that is why I took it on me to take care of their children. Maybe we will make a plan,” she said.
Joe Slovo Community Leader Achume Pikoko said they were working hard to help those affected by the fire.
“The incident has affected many people in different ways and that is why you will find that there are people with nothing, not even an ID or clothes. Many businesses, organisations and individuals have donated to the affected people and we would like to thank them for their support. We can see progress and people are slowly but surely recovering from the incident,” said Pikoko.
City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo, said they called on National Government to avail funding for disaster relief in events of fires and floods.
“Every instance of fire is assessed and a specific approach is developed as all instances will have unique circumstances. The City enables and facilitates soft relief, such as donations, site clearing, verification and assessments for assistance. In the past the City immediately and automatically provided relief kits to residents in informal settlements and some backyarders affected by fires, outside of a declared national disaster. This was subject to funding and in particular grant funding filtered down from the National Government. These funds are no longer available,” said Tyhalibongo.
City Disaster Risk Management, spokesperson, Charlotte Powell said Gift of the Givers, South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and faith based organisations have assisted affected residents with humanitarian relief.
“Urban Rural Development has been distributing the donations via the Councillor and community leadership food parcels and donated items, fire debris have been removed, chemical toilets have been installed, water standpipes are still usable,” said Powell.