Torching of Masiphumelele temporary housing project ‘barbaric’ - councillor

The homes were built after a massive blaze razed more than a thousand shacks just days before Christmas, leaving thousands homeless.

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 – Masiphumelele ward councillor Felicity Purchase said attempts to halt the area's temporary housing project were politically charged and barbaric.

About 200 temporary housing kits went up in flames on Friday night, after protesters allegedly set fire to the homes.

Police said no one has been arrested.

The homes were built after a massive blaze razed more than a thousand shacks just days before Christmas, leaving thousands homeless.

READ: City of CT finally cleared to use allocated funds for Masiphumelele residents

Two hundred temporary homes were scheduled to be handed over to displaced residents this weekend.

Purchase said these plans were now hampered, as the structures were gutted during an alleged arson attack.

"It was politically orchestrated. Political leadership in the community went around, rallied the youth, supplied them with petrol and then watched them storm the fences, and set fire to the wooden poles and structures."

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The ward 69 councillor said building equipment was also stolen.

It is believed young people were aggrieved, as the only sports field in the area is being used for this development, however, Purchase said there was more to it.

"This is just barbaric apart from being criminal. There is some dissatisfaction around the sports field being used, but the fact of the matter is, there is no other ground available immediately with services that could be used."

A meeting will be held to pave the way forward.

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