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Lindiwe Sisulu to visit Masiphumelele after fire leaves 6 000 homeless

About 1,000 shacks burnt down and 6 000 people were left homless after a blaze broke out in an informal settlement in Masiphumelele. Picture: Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA

About 1,000 shacks burnt down and 6 000 people were left homless after a blaze broke out in an informal settlement in Masiphumelele. Picture: Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA

Published Dec 21, 2020

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Cape Town - Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu is expected to visit Masiphumelele today, in the wake of the fire that left nearly 6 000 people homeless.

Cleanup crews are still busy clearing the damage from the fire that destroyed 1000 structures, before residents can begin rebuilding their homes.

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Sisulu’s spokesman Steve Motale said: “A few days ago, Minister Sisulu directed her director-general, Mbulelo Tshangana, to work with Western Cape provincial government in finding an immediate relief to people’s housing challenges. She further appealed to all South Africans including the private sector and NGOs to assist the affected community members with essential items such as food, clothes, blankets, and protective equipment.”

NGO Living Hope is coordinating the community response to the fire, and has called for volunteers to help sort through the donations which have poured in.

Founder John Thomas said they are aiming to pack and distribute 1200 parcels of food and essentials on Christmas Eve, for which they are still looking for help and donations.

“It is my personal hope that by Thursday, Christmas Eve, folk will be able to be in their new shack homes and that we will be able to give them as much bedding and clothing household goods that we have at that point,” Thomas wrote on Facebook.

“We are also planning on doing a door to door delivery to the new homes of a decent-sized food parcel on Thursday to give some form of Christmas cheer. In the interim we are seeking to try and purchase/get the donated up to 8000 blankets, over 1000 two plate stoves, around 2000 pots so that people will be able to cook their own food.”

He said that all the items which have been donated so far will be distributed through community leaders as soon as people have homes in which to store belongings again.

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You can help by dropping off goods at Living Hope’s drop-off points, or volunteering to help sort through donations.

“Living Hope is simply not able to collect donations from people’s homes. We do however know that the Wynberg Fire Station is receiving goods for Living Hope to distribute. Living Hope's address for drop-offs is Kommetjie Rd, Capri, opposite Sunnyacres Shopping Centre, just before Masiphumelele.”

Many local celebrities and politicians have visited the site of the fire, including Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato.

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Pick n Pay also pledged its support for the stricken community, and provided an easy way for concerned Capetonians to donate practical and much-needed items towards the cause:

“Donation trolleys have been set up in selected Pick n Pay stores, and Capetonians wanting to support the community can donate essential items here. All supplies will be delivered to Living Hope to be distributed amongst the community,” the company said in a statement.

“Participating Pick n Pay stores include Camps Bay, Gardens, Longbeach, Hout Bay, Sea Point, and Waterfront. Essential items needed include blankets, baby food or formula, nappies, and non-perishable food.”

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While the people of Masiphumelele begin to rebuild their homes and lives, the animals affected by the fire are also in desperate need of veterinary care and food.

TEARS rescue organisation said many animals perished in the fire, and donations are needed for the survivors.

General Manager Lauren Carlyle said: “We are calling for food and blankets for displaced and injured cats and dogs as well as donations to assist with medical treatments. We are delivering pet food parcels and water bowls to surviving animals across the affected area in the community.”

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