Dept concerned some Masiphumelele residents hindering work on emergency housing

Only 400 of these units have been erected on the site where a devastating fire destroyed about 1,100 shacks in December and further units are meant to go up on the sports field but there have been objections.

Temporary homes were erected on the weekend of 9 and 10 January 2021 after a fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Masiphumelele just days before Christmas 2020. Picture: Lizell Persens/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Human Settlements Department is concerned that some community members in Masiphumelele are preventing the construction of emergency housing for fire victims.

Only 400 of these units have been erected on the site where a devastating fire destroyed about 1,100 shacks in December and further units are meant to go up on the sports field but there have been objections.

Pastor John Thomas, the founder of the NGO Living Hope which does a lot of its work in the Masiphumelele area, said that last week there was a protest against the construction of shacks on the field.

"There was a workshop with the then-leaders of the fire-affected area and with the sports club that sports fields could be used as a TRA. However, the users of the sports field have now said 'no way is that going to happen."

It was followed by another demonstration a few days later.

"The homeless, the 480-odd, violently protested over the weekend, so we had two different protests, so it all seemed rolled into one. One group was saying 'no way are you going to use the sports fields' and another group saying 'we demand a place to live.'"