Fire leaves Site B residents homeless

Residents rebuild their shacks after the fire.

Residents of Site B informal settlement in Khayelitsha face a bleak Christmas after 26 shacks burnt down in a fire on Monday afternoon, December 10.

More than 100 people are now homeless.

The residents said they are not sure what caused the fire but they claimed it lasted about an hour and firefighters battled to enter their area as it is congested.

However, there was relief that no one was killed.

When Vukani visited the area the following day, some residents were busy cleaning the debris while others seemed to be clueless about where to start rebuilding their lives.

It was clear that most residents had lost all their belongings and the sadness was deeply etched on their faces.

Nomalizo Siyo said she was in a taxi coming back from work when she received a call from her neighbours to say that a fire had engulfed their homes.

She said the first thing that came to her mind was the safety of her only child and younger brother.Fortunately, they were both safe.However, her four-roomed home was burnt to ashes.

Ms Siyo, 39, said she lost everything in the fire, including new Christmas clothes.

She said she had planned to send her child to family in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape for the holiday but now she is forced to use that money to rebuild her life.

“The fire has ruined my plans. I’m thinking of borrowing money from loan sharks to rebuild my life. I have no idea what to do. It feels like my life has collapsed.

“Christmas will definitely be bad for us. I have been living in the area for more than a decade and nothing seems to be done to bring service delivery.

“We want to be moved into decent houses,” she said.

Ward councillor Thando Mpengesi said the residents should have been moved into decent housing in 2014.

He said they were now facing a miserable Christmas and urged the community to lend a helping hand.

Mr Mpengesi said he was glad that at least there were no lives lost.

He said the sad part was that some of the residents were unemployed and had no means to rebuild their lives and homes.

Fire and Rescue services spokesperson, Theo Layne, said the fire left 104 people displaced.

He said the City was expected to give them building material once the debris had been cleared.