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Durban - KwaZulu Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has expressed his condolences to the three families that lost their loved ones in a shack fire in the Beachway informal settlement on Tuesday afternoon. 

It is believed that a total of 18 shacks burned down in the area of Clermont in Ward 22 of eThekwini Metro. 

In addition to the casualties, 30 people have been left homeless.

Hlomuka has appealed to communities to open up their hearts and donate supplies which will be utilised to assist the 30 affected people who will now be moved into temporary shelters in and around Durban.

"This tragic incident comes at a time when our province is still reeling from the effects of the floods that took place in April and left a trail of death and destruction in their wake. 

"We, therefore, appeal to community members and private businesses to donate clothing and non-perishable items for the victims of this shack fire. We are also engaging other government agencies to ensure that the affected people can replace their essential documents, such as IDs that may have been lost in the fire," said Hlomuka.

The MEC has dispatched a team of officials from the provincial disaster management centre and the Ethekwini Disaster Centre to assist those that are in distress because of this incident.

Hlomuka also urged residents to exercise extreme caution during the winter season as the province is prone to disasters, which include veld fires and shack fires. 

"We urge residents to be cautious when handling candles which still pose a very high risk, especially in informal settlements. It is vital that we never leave them unattended," said Hlomuka.