Victims of Langa fire begin rebuilding their homes

Residents say they have limited resources to build their homes as most things were destroyed by the fires.

A total of 45 people have lost their homes in a blaze that broke out in Langa late on 10 August 2015. Picture: Natalie Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Residents of an informal settlement in Langa have begun the arduous task of rebuilding their homes after a devastating fire.

A total of 45 people lost their homes when a blaze tore through the area on Monday night.

One of the local said she lost almost all her personal belongings.

"We didn't have time to take out everything. The clothes, shoes, everything and the children didn't even go to school because of the situation.

"We're stuck here we don't even know if the material is going to be enough to help us. But if anybody can help us then we'd appreciate that because we're in trouble."

Still visibly shaken by the ordeal one resident, Siphokazi Nxiweni, said she's unsure how she will rebuild her home after losing all her belongings.

"There is nothing we have, we have nothing. We don't have clothes. We don't even have a panty to wear because everything is just burned out", she said.

Residents say this is the second fire to hit the area since 2012. Municipal officials have already started handing out fire kits to help affected families.

It's unclear what caused the blaze.


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng said it wants the City of Joburg to take responsibility for its role in the deaths of five Orange Farm children in a shack fire.

The party claims it's spoken to firefighters who said they were unable to report to the scene on time due to a shortage of fire trucks and other equipment.

Joburg's Emergency Management Services (EMS) department has denied these claims and said firefighters did all they could to save the children.

The EFF's Ntobeng Ntobeng said community members had to fight the blaze alone, despite the fact that the Orange Farm Fire Station is just a few minutes away from the affected house.

"When they got there, they could only watch helplessly because they really do not have equipment."

However EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said officials moved swiftly once they were notified of the fire.

"We managed to respond to that incident as quickly as possible. The fire station is not really far from where the incident occurred."

On Sunday night the children, aged between four and 17, died of smoke inhalation when the shack they were sleeping in caught fire.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into the cause of a fire that killed Mduduzi, Nkululeko, Tshepo, Busisiwe and Lilian Magagula.

Initial investigations indicated that the shack, used as a bedroom, had an illegal electrical connection which may have caused the blaze.

Mulaudzi said residents should avoid using hazardous methods to keep warm this winter.

"Paraffin stoves, imbawula or braziers.... they need to make sure that they use it in a well ventilated area."

He said unsafe practices are not limited to informal settlements, but are widespread as many South African's search for solutions when affected by load shedding.


EMS officials say they always have their hands full around the cold season in areas such as Orange Farm.

Mulaudzi has urged community members to practice caution when keeping warm.

"Because people are trying to warm themselves they will use paraffin stoves, candles and so forth. So we expect an increase in terms of the number of fire incidents now."

He has urged parents to refrain from buying cheap products that pose a danger to their lives and their children's lives.

"A challenge in terms of paraffin stoves which are not regulated, they are much cheaper on the market and most of these stoves, if you use them once or twice, they can explode."