Following a blaze that destroyed eight shacks in Khayelitsha’s Site C AT informal settlement last weekend, the Taiwan-based Tzu-Chi foundation donated food and clothes to the affected families yesterday. (Subs: Tues)
At the handover of donations in Site C where the victims of the blaze are rebuilding their shacks, Kenny Lee, who is spokesperson for the Buddhist Tzu-Chi charity foundation, said the compassion relief organisation heard about the struggles of the eight families through one of the informal settlement residents.
“We couldn’t fold our arms, we decided to help. We came here to see for ourselves and people were busy trying to build their shacks. For two days they didn’t have a place to stay they had to ask friends and families for shelter.”
He said the Tzu-Chi Foundation’s Cape Town office “saw a need to help” and provided food, blankets and clothes.
“Our job is to help those in need. Children asked for shoes and we organised some pairs for them. It’s not a big thing but it’s a start. They can now work on building their shacks with full stomachs.”
Mayizole Jara, a father of four children, who lost his home in the fire, said his family “lost everything”.
“All we were left with was what we were wearing. All my children’s clothes were burned and we had to look for a place to stay.”
He said the food provided by the Buddhist charity would “help a lot”.
“We thank the Taiwanese for their donation. At least now we will build our shacks with a full stomach.”
Proportional Representative councillor Phindile Maxiti said a number of organisations had assisted, including the Red Cross and the Iliso Informal Settlement Network, as well as the City of Cape Town who provided building materials.
It is believed last weekend’s fire, in which fortunately no-one was physically harmed, was caused by a candle.
“Since we don’t have electricity some residents are using candles,” said community leader Bukelwa Fani.
She said the fire started in a shack at about 1am on Saturday.
“The owner of the shack didn’t have electricity, she was using a candle. The fire got mixed up with (illegal) electricity connections and it spread to the other shacks,” said Fani.
She said residents could not put the fire out but City fire fighters managed to contain it. — Nombulelo Damba