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Government declares Masiphumelele fire a local disaster

Residents were left homeless after the fire destroyed their shacks. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Residents were left homeless after the fire destroyed their shacks. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 7, 2021


The fire that destroyed 1 000 shacks in the Masiphumelele informal settlement in Cape Town a week before Christmas has been declared a local disaster.

This was announced by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC).

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In a notice published in the Government Gazette on Wednesday, acting NDMC head Modiegi Radikonyana said the move followed consultation with the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre earlier this week.

”Consequent to the classification of this occurrence as a local disaster in terms of section 23 of the Disaster Management Act, the primary responsibility for the coordination and management of this occurrence is designated to the City of Cape Town,” read the notice.

The fire that swept through the informal settlement on December 17 left about 6 000 residents without a roof over their heads.

On Tuesday, the Housing Development Agency (HDA) promised to make about R32 million available to provide temporary structures, water and sanitation facilities.

The government has also undertaken to erect the temporary structures as soon as the area has been cleared while others will be accommodated at a nearby sports field.

State-owned agency HDA, which makes land and buildings available for housing, plans to construct 420 units in Masiphumelele.

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Another 656 units will be built on City of Cape Town-owned land. The HDA has undertaken to source labour from the community.

Radikonyana pleaded with state institutions to support the disaster management structures to ensure relief, recovery and reconstruction measures are put in place to enable the City to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster.

”It should be further noted that, in case that a local state of disaster is declared, all affected sectors are expected to prepare and submit detailed reports as prescribed in the Disaster Management Act,” she added.

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