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Anger & shock after deadly shack fire in Bekkersdal

Community members say the lack of proper housing and basic service delivery in the area has put their lives in danger.

Bekkersdal community members congregate at the shack where three children were killed during a fire on 29 May 2018. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The community of Bekkersdal in Westonaria has described their shock and anger after three children were killed in a shack fire overnight.

Community members say the lack of proper housing and basic service delivery in the area has put their lives in danger.

The tragedy happened at the Spooktown informal settlement.

Visibly distraught community members at the informal settlement gathered at the Makwakwa family home, which has been reduced to ashes.

Nosisa Khanene is the ward councillor in the area. She said she was saddened after hearing the news about the deadly fire.

“I am feeling very bad. Because people have lost their lives in the fire.”

Sibusiso Mavuso has lived in Bekkersdal for years, he has described the lack of service delivery as appalling.

“Actually, the area we’re living in is not for the people. People don’t deserve to live in such conditions.”

The parents of the children survived the fire. The mother is recovering in hospital after suffering burns to her legs.

WATCH: 3 children killed in shack fire in Bekkersdal

FEAR

Residents of Bekkersdal say they fear more lives could be lost this winter in shack fires due to the lack of housing and basic services in their community.

Mavuso says community members have raised service delivery concerns with government many times and have taken to the streets. However, nothing has changed.

“We cannot have paraffin stoves that create such fires. How many lives must be lost before we get assistance here? We’re getting no help here. We’ve been trying.”

He says they live in fear of losing people close to them.

“That’s why we’re here. We are worried about who’s next. We know every year in the winter season our people lose their lives.”

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)