Plato: Preliminary investigations point to arson in Masiphumelele fire

Over 1,000 homes were razed in the blaze and about 6,000 people lost everything in last week’s fire.

Masiphumelele residents salvage what they can in the aftermath of a fire on 18 December 2020. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato believes the devastating fire in Masiphumelele was started deliberately by would be land invaders.

Over 1,000 homes were razed in the blaze and about 6,000 people lost everything in last week’s fire.

On Monday, Plato said preliminary investigations suggested would-be land invaders might have started the fire by setting reeds alight as they tried to clear the ground.

“Criminals don’t care about people’s belongings and people’s livelihoods.”

Plato said it was early days in the investigation and they were hoping community members would help them in gathering information.

“Being as it may, the City of Cape Town will stand by the people of Masiphumelele and we’d like to receive exact information with regards to the alleged arson.”

City work crews are still working to clear the fire ravaged site so people can start rebuilding.

But they're also waiting for national government to release budget for starter packs - the bundles of building materials given to fire and flood victims to help them rebuild.

On Monday, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited the area. She said there was a plan -and they wouldn’t leave the people of Masiphumelele in the lurch.

“We need to first get the people out of this situation and put them in decent quarters. My commitment is to the extent that it is possible, I’ll have to restructure the budget and reprioritise so we can attend to this tragedy.

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