Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu is in consultation with the Western Cape government to convince it to declare the Taiwan and Masiphumelele informal settlements disaster areas, in order to fast-track rebuilding of the two areas.
On Monday, Sisulu visited the Taiwan informal settlement in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, after the area was gutted by a massive fire on Sunday night.
The blaze at Taiwan comes two weeks after more than 1000 structures in another informal settlement in the area, Masiphumelele, were destroyed by fire, leaving thousands of residents homeless.
Sisulu said by declaring the informal settlements disaster areas, this would assist in urgently making funds available to help the community.
With regards to Masiphumelele, the Western Cape government had received funds from the national Department of Human Settlements and work in the area would begin as soon as the provincial government had issued a letter of availability of funds.
Sisulu said: “We have engaged the community leadership in Taiwan and following these engagements, we realised that the problem is far bigger that we thought.”
Sisulu said she would also seek to engage the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) which, she said, was encouraging people in the area to settle wherever they found unoccupied land.
“They [SAHRC] have even taken us to court to achieve their disastrous goal. I was in Taiwan today [Monday] and I was shocked by the conditions under which our people there live.
“Basic principle of building allows for a firebreak. However, this is not the case in Taiwan where there are no spaces between structures. The disaster that occurred there was clearly bound to happen.
“Encouraging our people to live under these inhuman conditions is a reckless and irresponsible act that endangers the lives of black people. This anarchy should never be tolerated.”
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu