2 die in Cape shack fires

Two people have died and 200 more were left homeless in seperate shack fires in Cape Town.

The victims of the Khayelitsha shack fires wait for aid. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Two people were killed and almost 200 others were left homeless in separate shack fires across the Cape peninsula on Sunday.

More than 100 Philippi residents were left homeless after a fire gutted 26 informal dwellings in Seahlala informal settlement while scores of Khayelitsha residents were displaced after an electrical fault at a house.

The city's Wilfred Solomon Johannes said that more than 16 formal dwellings were gutted due to negligence.

"Residents left open flames burning when they went to sleep while others had illegal electric connections or faulty appliances which resulted in these devastating fires."

The blaze apparently started when a candle fell over and ignited flammable material resulting in a man suffering from facial injuries.

The City of Cape Town's Disaster Management is appealing to informal settlement residents to be cautious with flammable substances this winter.


Last week, at least 30 shacks were destroyed when a fire broke out in Nyanga.

No injuries or deaths were reported and the cause of the blaze remains unclear.

in another fire, a pregnant woman and her two-year-old daughter were killed in Vrygrond.

Emergency crews found Magdalena Cloete and her daughter Tallulah's bodies in the rubble after a blaze broke out.

Solomons-Johannes said it is believed the fire broke out when a candle fell over.

"The police have opened a case docket in this matter."

Investigations are also underway into the cause of another shack fire in Nyanga that claimed the life of a six-year-old boy and seriously wounded his older brother.

Solomons-Johannes said the siblings had to receive trauma counseling.

"The remains have been transported to a state mortuary for a postmortem. The circumstances leading up to the incident are also being investigated."

Meanwhile, Johannesburg emergency services said that as winter draws nearer, residents should be vigilant when using heaters so as to avoid fires.

There were several shack fires across Johannesburg at the weekend.

EMS' Robert Mulaudzi said, "We want people to be careful with their appliances and ensure proper safety this winter."