The fire that broke out in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, which left more than 5 000 people displaced and requires R18 million in relief funding, was allegedly caused by an illegal land occupation.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato visited the area on Monday to assess the progress of cleaning up the rubble of what was once 1 300 homes before the devastating fire last Thursday.
“Disaster management officials have announced that this fire was likely caused by an attempted land invasion. It is shameful that a humanitarian disaster, resulting in the total loss of people’s homes and belongings, has been caused by criminal elements. Because of this criminality, thousands will now spend their Christmas having to rebuild their structures,” said Plato.
The City said it was still waiting for approval from the national government on its request for R18 million relief funding. This would be used for fire kits, re-establishing electricity connections and water infrastructure.
Meanwhile, 80% of the site had been cleared of debris and heads of households were registered by the City’s informal settlements management department.
“Once fully cleared and the area treated and formally re-established, plots will be demarcated and proof of residence certificates will be issued to the registered affected residents, subject to the pending national disaster declaration,” the City said.
“The City urges the leadership structures to encourage affected residents not to attempt to rebuild on the site until the City gives the go-ahead and all necessary processes have been followed.”
Residents are still encouraged to drop off donations.
Plato also appealed to the public to come forward if they have any information.
“I strongly urge anyone with information to come forward to bring those responsible to book as we must send a strong message to discourage this criminal behaviour from affecting the lives and well-being of our residents,” he said.
To donate, contact Living Hope, which is coordinating the relief efforts, on 082 465 9067.