Sisulu to reveal long-term housing solution for fire-hit Masiphumelele

A massive fire on Thursday destroyed over 1,000 structures in the Cape Town informal settlement, leaving over 6,000 people homeless.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu (centre) assesses the situation in Masiphumelele on 21 December 2020 following a fire that displaced thousands of people on 17 December 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

MASIPHUMELELE - Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu is on Tuesday expected to present a proposed long-term housing solution for residents of Masiphumelele whose structures have been repeatedly destroyed by fires over the past few years.

A massive fire on Thursday destroyed over 1,000 structures in the Cape Town informal settlement, leaving over 6,000 people homeless.

Sisulu visited the area on Monday and urged residents to play their part while government worked on a plan.

“We would like the community to commit some things to us as government, that they will not build shacks in the back of their houses. These houses that you see here were built in 2006 and I was here, and now I came back, and they’re shacks behind these houses,” Sisulu said.

Meanwhile, Masiphumelele residents remain hopeful that their housing needs will be addressed sooner than later.

Many residents were being housed at local halls and other facilities, while others camped out on pavements guarding the few items they managed to save.

ALSO READ: Fire-hit Masiphumelele residents to spend Christmas in temporary accommodation

Naseka Magwaca, a resident of Masiphumelele, said government should at least give them temporary homes.

Magwaca said officials needed to be strategic with helping them because residents might end up fighting over land they once occupied.

“We want the minister to come and help us. We need a permanent solution,” Magwaca said.

Standing in a long food queue with her one-year-old baby tied tightly behind her back, Talent Gwete said she was exhausted and stressed, and just wanted a roof over her head.

“I don’t have clothes and even food, I have nothing. Everything is gone and I’m not feeling well,” she said.

READ: Preliminary investigations point to arson in Masiphumelele fire - Plato

Sisulu said government was working on a permanent solution to address the housing needs of this community.

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