Imizamo Yethu residents call for better infrastructure after fire destroys homes

The fire broke out on Sunday and affected more than 800 residents and over 200 dwellings were completely destroyed.

Imizamo Yethu residents rebuild their homes on 9 September 2020 after a devastating fire on 6 September 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Imizamo Yethu residents on Wednesday called for improved services and infrastructure following yet another fire in the informal settlement.

The fire broke out on Sunday and affected more than 800 residents and over 200 dwellings were completely destroyed.

Armed with hammers and other tools, residents of Imizamo Yethu spent Wednesday trying to rebuild their homes as women and children sat on pavements and between incomplete structures.

Resident Kwanga Nunu stood on the spot where her home was being rebuilt. She shared the structure with three other people, including a 12-year-old.

The fire took everything from them.

Nunu was hoping that the loss would spur government into providing better infrastructure for her and her neighbours.

“We need toilets and water. The drains are all blocked [and] I had to close it so that we don’t get sick,” she said.

Fires are commonplace in the densely populated area. Fires have claimed eight lives and scores of homes in the past three years.

After the massive fire in the area in 2017, the City of Cape Town had plans to introduce a so-called “superblock configuration” with proper road access and designated areas where fire hydrants would be installed.

Community leader Samkelo Krweqe said that at the time, a group of residents opposed it.

“People have changed hearts and they’ve seen what happened after 2017 and wish we had a road,” he said.

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