While people of Plastic View informal settlement rebuild their shacks following devastating shack fires, the City of Tshwane is planning to move the mostly undocumented foreign nationals.
Shortly after midnight yesterday, hundreds of people ran for their lives when a fire quickly spread through more than 50 shacks in Plastic View 2.
The shacks, built less than a metre apart, all burnt to the ground. A man sleeping in his shack was killed. Three other people suffered slight smoke inhalation, Tshwane emergency services spokesperson Johan Pieterse said.
A woman, who did not want to be named, said she was woken by screams of people.
Sitting on a burnt tincan where her home used to be, she said by the time she walked out, the flames were upon them.
“I didn’t have time to save anything. Even the money we saved in the house. All of it has burned,” she told The Citizen.
Jacob Maeko only moved to the informal settlement two months ago. “Luckily, I saw the flames from far and managed to save my ID and important documents. But now, I don’t even know where I am going to sleep,” he said.
Just two days earlier, a fire swept through 50 shacks at the other part of the informal settlement, known as Plastic View 1.
The City of Tshwane, which owns the land, said it would soon be developed for low-cost housing and RDP houses, as at least 75% of the residents were undocumented foreign nationals.
Tshwane MMC of housing and human settlement Mandla Nkomo said “more than 75% are undocumented and we are working with the department of home affairs to correct that.
“We want to build mixed developments but can’t provide RDP houses to non-South Africans.
“But we are finalising the plans,” he said.