‘Gov­ern­ment has ne­glected us’

Most vic­tims of the 2005 Langa blaze re­main in tem­po­rary homes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - METRO - ASANDA SOKANYILE asanda.sokanyile@inl.co.za

THIR­TEEN years af­ter the 2005 Langa fire, thou­sands of dis­placed vic­tims still re­main in the fenced tem­po­rary re­lo­ca­tion area, await­ing for­mal hous­ing.

More than 8 000 peo­ple were af­fected by the fire which saw one in­fant die and an­other left brain dead. An es­ti­mated 1 500 struc­tures were razed when a fire rav­aged zones 18, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30 and 32, hav­ing started in the Joe Slovo in­for­mal set­tle­ment.

Now, mother of two Sindi Kethani, 44, has told Week­end Argus that though some peo­ple have been moved in dribs and drabs, the process to have them re­lo­cated to per­ma­nent homes seems like a far-fetched dream.

“First, we were moved to tents at the two schools, Zi­masa and Isil­imela. Be­cause of heavy rains we were then moved to com­mu­nity halls be­fore th­ese houses were put up in Oc­to­ber.

“Since then, we have been here and the gov­ern­ment has ne­glected us, I feel.

“We have been stay­ing here for 13 years. Th­ese houses they gave us are now di­lap­i­dated be­cause they were never meant for per­ma­nent res­i­dency, but we are al­ways told that there are no spe­cific hous­ing projects for us.

“We have to be ac­com­mo­dated along with ev­ery­one else as and when the time comes,” she said

“That is just sad be­cause we did not ask to be fire vic­tims. Our gov­ern­ment does not seem to care about us.”

Mean­while, 53- year- old Min­nie Oliphant has been liv­ing in the re­lo­ca­tion camp made up of rows of cor­ru­gated iron, known as Blikkies­dorp, along Sym­phony Way near Delft.

The area is just two years younger than In­ter­site in Langa but res­i­dents here also be­lieve they will not live to see a bet­ter home.

Blikkies­dorp was cre­ated to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple await­ing for­mal hous­ing. The struc­ture each house be­tween five and 15 peo­ple.

“We have lost all hope, man, we don’t even care any more.

“When we came here I was liv­ing with my daugh­ter, son and one grand­child. Now there are three more chil­dren and there is no space here,” said Oliphant.

“Fam­i­lies grow every day but noth­ing is done to help us get away from here,” she added, as she con­tin­ued to do her laun­dry in a small plas­tic basin at the front of her cor­ru­gated iron home.

There are 1 535 houses in Blikkies­dorp and only 122 fam­i­lies have since been moved to for­mal hous­ing.

City of Cape Town me­dia man­ager Luthando Ty­hal­i­bongo said: “A tem­po­rary re­lo­ca­tion area (TRA) is a site de­vel­oped in terms of the Emer­gency Hous­ing Pro­gramme, or prior to the roll-out of a hous­ing project where house­holds are ac­com­mo­dated in pre­fab­ri­cated shel­ters on a tem­po­rary ba­sis, and have ac­cess to ba­sic mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices on a shared ba­sis.”

How­ever, Kethani and her neigh­bours feel that they have been left on the In­ter­site TRA for far too long.

The City of Cape Town has seven TRAs. Oth­ers in the city in­clude, Wol­w­eriv­ier, which was es­tab­lished in 2015 in re­sponse to fam­i­lies be­ing re­moved from a city-owned land­fill site.

Mew Way in Khayelit­sha was es­tab­lished in 2013 with ap­prox­i­mately 850 dwellings as a re­sult of shack fires, and N2 gate­way in Delft as a re­sponse to a hous­ing roll-out plan.

Ac­cord­ing to Ntombox­olo Som­daka, spokesper­son for Hu­man set­tle­ments MEC Bonginkosi Madik­izela: “The cur­rent hous­ing back­log is es­ti­mated at 600 000.”

AYANDA NDAMANE African News Agency (ANA)

DISA TRA res­i­dents claim their tem­po­rary homes were erected by the City on a wet­land, and water is now seep­ing in through the struc­tures. Whether it rains or not, water con­stantly af­fects their liv­ing spa­ces. |

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