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'CT formal housing not an overnight process'

Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has pleaded with people to avoid informal settlement fires.

FILE: The Western Cape Human Settlements Department says while it will do its best to provide shack fire victims with formal housing, the process is not going to happen overnight. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Human Settlements Department says while it will do its best to provide shack fire victims with formal housing, the process is not going to happen overnight.

This comes after 1,400 Valhalla Park residents were left destitute after a fire, which was sparked by an illegal electrical connection, broke out two days before Christmas.

In November 90 shacks were gutted in a blaze in Phillipi.

Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has pleaded with people to be careful and says fires can be avoidable.

Madikizela says people on the waiting list for RDP housing have to be patient.

"It is a concern for us as the department and we really want to send our heartfelt condolences to those people. Formalising those places will not be an overnight thing."

The departments also says it has partnered with the city of Cape Town to provide informal settlements with electricity.

Madikizela adds this is to curb the number of shack fires caused by illegal connections.

Madikizela also says while he understands the people's frustrations at the slow pace in which formal houses are being allocated, they need to be patient.

"Some of the fires were caused by illegal connections, which we know people resort to these because they need electricity. That is why together with the city of Cape Town, we have embarked on a city wide programme so that we can at least electrify the informal settlements that can be electrified."

Madikizela says his department is doing everything possible to improve shack dwellers' living conditions.

"We continue trying to ensure that living conditions are improved because we're not going to lie to our people and pretend as if formal houses will be built tomorrow."