A dark Christmas for Alex residents who lost passports, IDs due to shack fire
News / 10 December 2018, 11:48am / Sthembiso Sithole and Sibongile Mashaba
Puseletso Sengoai and her two brothers have nowhere to go after their passports got burnt in the Alexandra fire.
Sengoai is one of the people who was left homeless after at least 500 shacks were gutted by a blaze which engulfed the densely populated area on Thursday.
Sengoai, who is originally from Lesotho, was planning to visit her family for Chrismas but due to the fact that her passport got burnt, she now has no place to sleep and will now have a dark Chrismas.
Sengoai was resting in her shack when the fire started in one of the shacks.
“It was around 2 pm when I heard a loud noise. I was not feeling well on that day. I tried to wake up and go outside to see what was happening. I saw people trying to stop the fire,” she said.
Sengoai moved to Alexandra in 2013 after living in Carletonville. She moved to the township with the hope of getting a job.
“I am unemployed. I came here because Alexandra is close to many companies. It has been tough for me and my two brothers. We were planning to go home this festive season, but because we don’t have passports we have a challenge.
“I don’t have money. If we don’t go home, this means we will be here with no shack and no food. All I want is a new passport and food,” Sengoai said.
Ward 81 Councillor Zodwa Tlale said they have spoken to Home Affairs about travel documents that were burnt in the fire.
“We are aware that there are people who lost their IDs and passports. Today Home Affairs is going to come and assist everyone. What happened here is unfortunate,” she said.
On Sunday, Prophet Paseka Motsoeneng also known as Mboro visited the fire-hit area and called on other church leaders to help in rebuilding the lives of the affected.
Motsoeneng went on a fact-finding mission in the informal settlement on London Road, to establish what kind of help the residents needed following the fire that left hundreds of people homeless.
He arrived in the early afternoon with building materials to assist at least three families to rebuild their shacks.
Nomakhosi Nxadi, 32, was visibly shaken when Mboro arrived with new planks and corrugated iron to build her shack.
“I did not know where I would start rebuilding my shack. I am grateful for the help Prophet Mboro is giving me,” Nxadi said.
“I live with my brother’s child. Both his parents died and I am the one who is raising him now. I lost all my belongings in the fire and did not have a plan or money to rebuild my shack. I have been sleeping in someone else’s shack since Thursday night,” she said.
Mboro identified Nxadi, an injured Phelelani Ngabase, 27, and Simon Nhlengethwa, 56, as the first three beneficiaries.
“I am here to help people in need. I am not just helping you to rebuild your shacks but I am also here to teach you to help others. You must do everything to help others in need like you are in need now. This is what God wants and this is the role of the church,” Motsoeneng said.
“I will help more people but I want those who are able to buy their own material to do so. Those who are in desperate need will be prioritised,” Motsoeneng said.