News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday July 16th 2019

Khayelitsha fire victims to be moved


Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille addresses Khayelitsha shack fire victims. Photo: Nombulela Damba/WCN

After having lost their homes following a shack fire in Khayelitsha BM informal settlement on New Year’s Day, 800 families today agreed to move into temporary houses in the Mfuleni Bosasa area.

The fire which started on New Year’s day, allegedly by a man who was cooking on a paraffin stove after having being drinking, left thousands of people homeless and five dead.

Yesterday City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and Premier Helen Zille visited the victims temporarily living in the OR Tambo community hall to report back on the City’s plans and to hear what options they wished to choose.

The meeting was also attended by Khayelitsha-based NGOs, councillors, the City Crisis Committee and Khayelitsha development forum (KDF).

De Lille told residents they have three options to choose from.

The city could level the area and put streets in, which would mean 20% of the residents could not rebuild there as the streets would take up space where shacks formerly used to stand.

If the city put in streets and water piping, only 30% of the fire victims would be able to return due to further space constraints.

The third option was for residents to choose to be moved to a Temporary Relocation Area in Bosasa Mfuleni.

Even though the majority of residents choose to be moved in Bosasa because they no longer had material to rebuild in BM Section, some of the residents weree concerned the city would simply forget about them once they had been moved to Mfuleni.

Resident Gideon Msongelwa, 61, was one of the people who said he did not want to be moved to Mfuleni.

“I do not want a temporary house because once we move they will forget about us. Temporary houses are not different from the shacks we were living in. I understand it is not nice to sleep in a hall but it’s better when you know you will get a proper place,” he said.

Other residents were concerned about their children’s education, saying Bosasa, Mfuleni, is far from schools they had been attending in Khayelitsha.

Resident Mandisa Phindeka said she did not mind moving to Bosasa as this was the second time she had lost her home in a fire but wanted the city to organise transport for their children to get to school.

But Zille assured the residents that solutions would be found.

Zille also encourage residents to be patient, saying the way forward was not going to be easy as Mfuleni residents also wanted land for themselves.

ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said they still needed to have a meeting with Mfuleni councillors to inform them of developments.

In a statement released by de Lille after the meeting, she said all 854 families affected by the fire would be relocated to Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs) within the surrounding area.

Each family would receive a shared service plot on which to settle in the TRA.

Incremental Development Areas would be developed and families would be moved there when these areas were ready.

BM Section itself would be developed. Developments would include “spatial reconfiguration and additional services”.

However residents were likely to spend another week in OR Tambo Hall as de Lille said budgets needed to be finalised and the minister of environment and land affairs had to be informed. – Nombulelo Damba

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2 Responses to “Khayelitsha fire victims to be moved”

  1. Lulama says:

    We all concerned about BM section people, but I would like to know when you moving them to Bosasa TRA’s what is going to happen to those who already occupied temporary houses there. As far as I know is about +-400 shack in Bosasa and they all occupied and we are talking about +- 800 people form BM setion.

  2. Pumlani says:

    Has the receiving community(Mfuleni Ward 16 Residents) being engaged on the matter by the City?if not why?

    Where the city promised to relocate / build TRA’s for BM section residents, wasnt reserved for Ext 2? Has it changed and if so did the Mfuleni Ward 16 Community being engaged on the matter by the City of Cape?if not why?

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