City of Cape Town plans to provide permanent housing to Masiphumelele fire victims

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The City of Cape Town says it aims to provide permanent housing to victims of the Masiphumelele fire by the end of this year.

More than 4 000 people were left homeless in December last year, when the fire tore through the informal settlement, near Fish Hoek in Cape Town.

The City says over 850 temporary units have been completed.

The tragedy struck a week before Christmas and amid the second wave of COVID-19. After a local disaster was declared, funding was freed up and all three spheres of government worked together to accommodate the fire victims.

It was a race against time in the face of an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Those affected by the fire had this to say.

“I was coming from work when I came near my house I saw the smoke was coming up. I ran there I saw my house was burning. It was the whole section BMC. They took long to give us the houses and they told us we are going to get temporary houses and they said they are going to build the houses for us but until now it’s not finished yet,” says one resident.

The City says all those who have been verified to have lost their homes have been accommodated in the temporary structures.

Masiphumelele residents resettled:

Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, explains: “We have completed what we promised to that Masiphumelele Community of making sure that we house those 850 families. Now that project, the first phase is complete. We will now be embarking on the medium term to long term, which is a permanent solution where we will be building alternative building technology. I was in a meeting last night with the national minister and I had to thank her for the role that she was placed to assist us in that fire and now we will be rolling out the ABT.”

Tensions and violence erupted in the community over the use of a sports field as a temporary site. Some felt the field should not be used for temporary housing as it left the youth without sporting facilities. But, authorities say these issues have since been ironed out.