People rebuild after a wild fire torched over 79 shacks at Plastic View in the east of Pretoria. Picture: James Mahlokwane
People rebuild after a wild fire torched over 79 shacks at Plastic View in the east of Pretoria. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Plastic View residents struggle to rebuild homes after fire

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Jul 21, 2020

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Pretoria - It’s been three days since a wild fire torched about 80 shacks at Plastic View but residents are still struggling to rebuild their homes.

The fire left over 400 family members without clothes, blankets and identification and now it’s back to square one again as they receive donations.

Although some wood and plastic was donated to rebuild the burnt portion of the large informal settlement, many still do not have plastic, corrugated iron, wire and nails to finish rebuilding.

Community leader Benjamin Sitole said people from the surrounding suburbs have been so kind to donate 54 pieces of plastic and some wood.

“The problem here is that it’s each man for himself. If we bring all the plastic here, the deserving people will miss out because of those greedy ones who want to build very large shacks forgetting that some people can’t even build a single room because they have no resources as all.

Zimbabwean national McDonald Kiyana's car was burnt out in the fire. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Zimbabwean national McDonald Kiyana's car was burnt out in the fire. Picture: James Mahlokwane

“We are going around talking to the people and helping those women and men who really don’t have an income and a plan. We want to make sure every child has a place to sleep.”

He said the community has been receiving food donations and meals every day thanks to the intervention of SA Care for Life and residents of the surrounding suburbs.

“The white families from the nearby suburbs have given out their clothes to make sure that the people here have clothes to wear and be like everyone else.

"We are very humbled and grateful for that,” he added.

One of the locals who has not healed from the damage of the fire is Zimbabwean national McDonald Kiyana who not only lost a shack with furniture but watched his car burn to ash.

“I bought a used Tata Indica for R22 000 in 2018 and I’ve been using it to do piece jobs but on Saturday morning I painfully watched it burn until it was just a shell.

“It was the most painful thing to watch. I couldn’t save it because the plastic fires were wild, and initially I was too preoccupied with breaking out of my shack and saving the lives of my children.

“By the time I realised my car was on fire it was already too late for me.

"I literally watched my bread and butter go up in smoke. I’m still not well. I stress a lot and the fact that I don’t even have enough building material makes things worse,” said Kiyana.

Pretoria News

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