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‘They’ve lost everything’: Appeal for help after KZN informal settlement fire

Local ward councillor Suraya Reddy said the fire is believed to have been started by a client of a local sex worker after he was allegedly robbed.

More than 90 shacks were destroyed in a shack fire in Jika Joe informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/EWN

DURBAN - The KwaZulu-Natal government said it would help the victims of shack fires that ravaged an informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg over the weekend.

Local ward councillor Suraya Reddy said the fire is believed to have been started by a client of a local sex worker after he was allegedly robbed.

At least 97 shacks were gutted.

The provincial cooperative governance officials said 164 people were displaced following shack fires at the Jika Joe informal settlement.

Local councillor Suraya Reddy said residents are in desperate need of help.

“This is a very impoverished site. Many of them have lost everything and only came out with the clothes on their backs. They are in dire need of food, clothes and items for babies, like nappies.”

MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said emergency services would assist.

“We will be discussing our long-term and short-term plans with the municipality.”

The victims are currently being accommodated at a local community hall.