Last week, while children across the province started the new school year, the parents of Kanana informal settlement just outside Gugulethu were unable to send their children to school as they counted the cost of a recent fire.
Many of them have lost everything in the fire that raged through the area on New Year’s Day.
Currently the future of Kanana children remains uncertain until something is done
to help them replace the documentation required for school entry, which was destroyed in the blaze.
Pamela Ngudle, who is a parent and an area committee member, said they were struggling to get documentation for themselves and their children who could not be enrolled and registered at schools without the documents.
“I and other parents have been to Home Affairs but we all know how long it takes to get what you need there. The whole process takes a lot of time.
“This is derailing our children from school. The teachers too are failing to understand our situation,” she said.
She said the fire destroyed 37 shacks and that most of those affected, had lost everything.
“We had to ask for places to stay for a day or two. But some were lucky because the officials from the Department of Human Settlements and the City came with material for about 25 shacks. The only challenge was electricity which we still need until today. We also had an issue with our councillor who is failing us. We last saw him on the day of the incident. There are about 10 residents that have not got their structures because they were out in the Eastern Cape,” she said.
Another resident, Andisiwe Hlatu added: “We are struggling to go to all these departments like Home Affairs and Sassa. There are old people that could not walk long distances.
“We feel that these departments should have come here to help us. How could some 80-year-old grannies go queue at these departments?
“We hope that someone like our councillor could have organised them to come here,” she said.
Ward 40 councillor Bongani Ngcombolo said the City of Cape Town has provided relief aid and their homes have been rebuilt. He said by the next day they had already rebuilt most of the structures and they were continuing to assist the victims.
“When we have to give out building material, we have to check if the process is correct. We can’t just give people shack material without verification. Let us be honest, our people can inflate the numbers,” he told Vukani.
Mr Ngcombolo said he has written letters to all the departments including school so that people could be helped immediately. “We are busy with identity documents with Home Affairs. I have been talking to the departments about the issue. I have been doing letters for them (victims) to take to work and school as proof that they have lost their materials,” he told Vukani.
Last Thursday, January 17 Vukani visited the site and found some people still erecting their shacks among the rubble of the shacks which had been burnt.