Govt yet to make starter kits money available for Masiphumelele residents

Work crews are still clearing the site on Monday morning so that fire victims can start rebuilding.

Masiphumelele residents sifting through debris following last week’s blaze that destroyed around 1,000 homes. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town is waiting for national government to make budget available to supply starter kits to fire affected families in Masiphumelele.

Work crews are still clearing the site on Monday morning so that fire victims can start rebuilding.

Thousands of people lost everything when a massive fire swept through a part of sprawling informal settlement, razing more than a thousand homes.

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At the same time, Capetonians have rallied round to help those affected, donating tonnes of clothing, bedding and food.

Community organisation Living Hope is co-ordinating the relief efforts and Pastor John Thomas said they needed volunteers to help them.

“We almost have not been able to keep up with the overwhelming number of donations that have come in and we’re still sorting them so if there are any volunteers able to come to Living Hope offices on Kommetjie Road, that would be a great help.”


At the same time, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is expected to visit Masiphumelele on Monday to meet with community leaders in an effort to find a lasting solution to the housing crisis in the area.

“A few days ago, minister Sisulu directed her director-general, Mbulelo Tshangana, to work with Western Cape provincial government in finding an immediate relief to people’s housing challenges. She further appealed to all South Africans including the private sector and NGOs to assist the affected community members with essential items such as food, clothes, blankets, and protective equipment,” the minister’s spokesperson Steve Motale said in a statement on Monday morning.

Cape Town officials said they had to declare Masiphumelele a disaster area because national government budget cuts left the city without the cash needed to provide fire and flood kits.

The city was hoping to have the site cleared by Monday, but Mayor Dan Plato’s spokesperson Lyndon Khan said this was proving a difficult undertaking as the area was on a wetland that was illegally occupied.

Khan is hoping the clearing process would be done by the middle of next week.

“A multiagency and department response has been ongoing at the site to ensure the swift and accurate addressing of the needs of residents,” he said.

Once the site has been cleared, electrical infrastructure as well as taps, and toilets destroyed in the fire would be fixed.

The city’s resident registration process is under way and included special assistance to the elderly as well as people who had lost their medication in the blaze.

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