Community leaders at informal settlement in Hout Bay call for consensus for redevelopment following fatal fire

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Community leaders from a part of Imizamo Yethu informal settlement near Hout Bay in the Cape Peninsula are calling for consensus among community members to allow redevelopment in the area. This comes after one person died and another was injured following a fire that destroyed more than 50 structures and left over 100 people displaced.

A project to create adequate spaces in between the corrugated iron structures called “super-blocking” was left hanging in the balance following disagreements among community members. The community of Imizamo Yethu  is often affected by big fires.

This is attributed to the high density of the area, combustible materials and illegal electrical cables.

Another fire broke out on Saturday night and destroyed people’s dwellings and their belongings.

“I was affected because I do not have a place to stay. Even last night I slept outside with my children. I lost everything I couldn’t salvage anything,” says a community member.

“It’s very painful, especially for the kids because they don’t know what’s going on. They still ask for things you don’t gave. I lost everything, my shack was burnt down, bed was there, fridges were there, so we couldn’t take out everything, we only took out the clothes”, another community member explains.

VIDEO: Fire in Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay leaves one dead and hundreds displaced

Humanitarian Aid organisation Gift of the Givers assisted with essentials.

“Our teams were immediately sent out where we provided urgent humanitarian need. We are providing hot meals, we are on site today again to deliver mattresses, blankets, water, hygiene items. We cannot provide food parcels for now as they still need places to stay. But, we will be engaging the city on what further assistance is needed,” Gift of the Givers Ali Sablay says.

Community leaders believe a project to create spaces between the homes will reduce the impact of the fires.

“As far as government was concerned on super blocking they were prepared to build an upgrading. That is to build permanent houses to those structures if it is all in a correct way. So we missed that opportunity. The land was bought somewhere for temporary relocation of people to pave a way of super blocking”.

The City of Cape Town says assessments are still under way to determine the exact amount of people who have been affected.

The cause of the fire is unclear at this stage.