'Masiphumelele fire could've been avoided'

The company that manufactures fire-retardant paint says govt didn’t act on time to hire their services.

Masiphumelele residents have started rebuilding their homes that were gutted by Sunday’s fire. Picture: chrispreenphotography.com

CAPE TOWN - A company that manufactures fire-retardant paint said the devastation wreaked a shack fire in Masiphumelele could have been mitigated had the City of Cape Town not dragged its feet.

This week, the City launched a fire safety campaign with Transception, a project implementation company that manufactures the fire-retardant pain.

Hundreds of shacks brunt to the ground last Sunday.

On Sunday, two people died and about 4,000 people were left destitute after over 1,100 shacks burned down in Masiphumelele near Fish Hoek.

Transception's CEO Justin Zietsman claims they were commissioned by the City of Cape Town to roll-out the fire-retardant paint to three thousand shacks in Masiphumelele in the first week of November.

"We could have done it for R4.5 million and all 3,000 homes in Masiphumelele would have been painted."

Zietsman said the rollout was halted by red tape.

But, the office of Human Settlements Mayco member Benedicta van Minnen said no timelines have been linked to the project.

The City said for the new structure, there will be two-metre wide firebreaks between structures to reduce the risk of a similar tragedy in the future.

On Monday, the City said the layout of shacks to be rebuilt in fire ravaged Masiphumelele needs to be changed so as to allow emergency vehicles easier access should there be further blazes.