A fire at the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement near Hout Bay claimed several lives. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane
Cape Town – The City of Cape Town was seeking legal intervention to allow it to re-block the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement after a devastating fire left 7 000 people homeless.

A high court application was launched against a Clifford Nogwavu, who was attempting to erect illegal structures on the site in Hout Bay.

This was after a visit by mayor Patricia de Lille who warned residents not to build on the site that was earmarked for an upgrade.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) was not pleased with the mayor’s visit accusing her of starting a “whitewash” campaign.

“The DA does not take the circumstances of the people into consideration. We’re sitting with a problem where men, women and families have been through trauma through these fires,” Bongikhaya Qhama, the provincial secretary, said.

Qhama said there was a lack of prioritisation of land and no arrangements had been made for those who were left without a roof over their heads.

"The mayor is celebrating the squashing of people living in those circumstances.” Saturday was the first time De Lille visited the area after she returned from the US. De Lille said she would meet with the community in the course of next week to urge them to rethink the duplex design of the houses.

“If they give us the consent to build more densely by adding five more storeys, we will be able to accommodate even more beneficiaries,” she said.

De Lille also said they had reached an agreement with the majority of members of the community and were set to revise plans to undertake a massive re-blocking in the community to prevent a situation where emergency services did not have access to them.

“The redesign will allow us to install fire breaks, pedestrian walkways and other access to basic and emergency services," De Lille said.

"I am making a very strong appeal to those who are not working with us and the majority of the community to consider the thousands who have been affected,” she said.

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Cape Argus