Fire destroys homes

Sihle Makhekheleshe, Thina Masungu, Anelisiwe Bayizana, Zimasa Mbizo and Siphuvuyo Vumba were only left with the clothes they were wearing as they were unable to save their possession when fire swept through Langa.

A fire that ravaged Langa on Monday August 15 left 40 residents homeless.

When Vukani visited the informal settlements of Zone 24 on Monday morning, residents whose homes were burnt were clearing away the burnt remains so that they could begin to rebuild their shacks.

The blaze destroyed 16 shacks but the exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Many of the residents lost almost everything in the fire, leaving them with only clothes they were wearing.

Magunya Malgas was at work when he heard that his area had been engulfed by flames and immediately rushed home hoping to salvage his belongings.

But when he arrived, his two-roomed shack lay in ashes.

Mr Malgas said he was shocked when claims were made that his younger brother had caused the fire by leaving a brazier unattended.

He said his brother had apparently run away when residents confronted him.

Mr Malgas said he also wanted to question his brother but he was nowhere to be found.

Mr Malgas said his younger sister’s shack had also been destroyed by the fire and she also lost everything.

“I have lost everything in the fire. My brother lives alone and his shack was built next to my shack. I don’t know how I will rebuild my shack because I don’t have a permanent job.”

The City’s head of public awareness and preparedness, Charlotte Powell, told Vukani the fire had damaged approximately 16 dwellings, leaving 40 people displaced. However, she added, no emergency shelter had been made available.

“The Mustadafin Foundation provided hot meals, blankets and clothing to the fire victims. The City’s human settlements department will provide fire kits for residents to rebuild dwellings.

“No injuries were reported and the cause of fire is still undetermined at this stage,” she said.

A distraught Sihle Makhekheleshe, 21, who is a student at the College of Cape Town and shares her sister’s two-roomed shack with her two relatives including an eight-month-old baby, said she lost all her school books and she was only left with the pyjamas she was wearing.

She said she had been fast asleep when the started and only heard someone shouting “Umlilo”, and when she woke up, it was already too late to salvage any of her belongings.

She said it was the second time her possessions had been destroyed by fire and they are appealing to the government to build them decent houses or move them into flats.

“One of neighbours left a brazier unattended and it burnt his shack before destroying our shacks. I could not save anything because our shacks are closely built next to each other.

“I don’t know how I will study now since I have lost my school material,” she said.