CAPE TOWN – The City of Cape Town said that high-density townships led to large-scale shack fires like the latest one in Masiphumelele.
Over 1,200 people were left destitute after Sunday’s blaze.
One person died and four others were injured.
Residents began rebuilding on Tuesday despite cold temperatures, strong winds and rain.
EWN has asked Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi what the municipality was doing to prevent shack fires.
“The only way to prevent such incidents is for people to adhere to our rules and regulations. What we’re trying to do in different communities is to do what we call reblocking, where structures are not built next to one another, while people are waiting for their houses. But what people do, they extend their structures and erect structures in-between. This makes the area more dense.”
Booi said that if residents heeded their warnings to maintain space between structures, the spread of fires could be avoided.
Firefighting was also hampered because trucks could not move between rows of shacks where they were needed most.
However, community leader Maswazi Nkosi believed authorities could do more to reduce risk.
“The City of Cape Town failed to provide electricity for the people here, if here was electricity, I don’t think this would’ve happened.”
Sassa and relief organisation Gift of the Givers has been helping the city provide assistance.
Donations of clothing, non-perishable food, baby items and blankets can be dropped off at the sub-Council 19 office and the Living Hope Centre in Kommetjie Road, Fish Hoek.
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