GroundUp also paid the area a visit on Monday and, while some people had started with rebuilding efforts, others stood in long lines to register for building materials provided by the City of Cape Town. GroundUp continues:
Trucks with food could be seen in the area, with volunteers giving bread and drinks to the affected residents.
Many people were carting the belongings they had managed to save from the flames to places of safety.
However, shacks that were rebuilt on Sunday had to be demolished after the City announced its intention to re-block the area. Deborah Mkhapuza from the Imizamo Yethu Movement below:
There was a lot of fighting because the City just acts without notifying people. They (the residents) do not know what is happening even though they are the ones that have lost their homes.
Many residents who were affected said they weren’t opposed to the decision, but stated that it’s time the City makes such proposals in writing and communicates with those affected.
“We know the pain of sleeping outside. They [City officials] have warm beds and get to think about us from nine to five, if they do,” said resident Sphamandla Mdakathana.
Here are a few accounts of some resident’s current situation since the fire:
Peter Yasin and Somila Xhanti were among the residents who have been sleeping outside on the mountain above the settlement to keep an eye on their remaining belongings.
Yasin is a Malawian national and has been living in Imizamo Yethu for two years. He works as a gardener and rents his shack for R400 a month. He said he had not yet been in contact with the owner of the shack. “I do not know if I will have a home or not. I was renting from someone; I have no space of my own,” he said.
Since the fire, Xhanti and her partner have built a small shelter for themselves on the mountain as a place to sleep. Her temporary shelter is made out of the old burnt material and her single bed mattress can barely fit inside.She has been living in Imizamo Yethu since 2010. She said she was lucky that her child was not at home when the fire broke out. “I am lucky I managed to save our IDs and some of our clothes,” she said.
Nomaxabiso Ndude, who is eight months pregnant, said the fire started close to the home she shares with her sister. She said the excitement of welcoming her new baby had gone. She was worried about where she will get money to replace the baby clothes that she lost in the fire. “I had bought clothes for my child because I had money … But now I have nothing … What is he going to wear? … We need to build a home,” said Ndude. For two days she slept on the mountain, but it was too cold and she was getting stomach cramps. Ndude later managed to get a place to stay in the community hall.
So what’s all this re-blocking about? Well, it’s a rehabilitation process to ensure the land is suitable for rebuilding in an attempt to transform informal settlements into dignified spaces:
Debris has been removed by the City’s Solid Waste Management Department; the water supply has nearly been completely restored; and the City’s Electricity Department is working on re-establishing the electricity supply. Once the site has been cleared and declared safe, rebuilding can commence.
Of course, the rehabilitation process is only there to ensure victims can start afresh – but there really should be more effort on the City’s side of things to educate those in informal settlements of the procedures following such disasters.
C o m m u n i c a t i o n i s k e y.
In the meantime, Thula Thula is expressing the need for more donations:
“Our immediate needs include water and toiletries, including toothpaste, deodorants, toothbrushes, soap and sanitary kits for women and men. We also need food because there are many people without anywhere to cook.”
Imizamo Yethu donations drop-off points:
– Red Cross
In Hout Bay:
– Police station
– Fire station
– Pick n Pay
– Cape Union Mart – Constantia
– Quay Four
– Canal Walk
Keep up the good work, for there is much still to be done.