Nyanga fire victims unable to rebuild their homes

The City says it will now be assisting the families left homeless by the fire nearly a month ago

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Photo of fire victim in front of his new shack
Nyanga resident Christopher Yeki says he has been waiting a month for the City to provide building material after his shack was destroyed by a fire on 1 May. Photo: Vincent Lali

Nearly a month after a fire gutted two shacks in Mkhonto Square, Nyanga, the families are still battling to rebuild their homes. The families say they have not received any assistance from the City of Cape Town after the blaze.

The fire started around 3:30pm on 1 May. Resident Christopher Yeki said he left his shack for a few moments and returned to find it engulfed in flames. Yeki said he lost his groceries, bed, wardrobe, TV and clothes.

Yeki said the only help he got was from ward councillor Noluthando Manikivana who delivered a few food parcels for the families.

Unable to rebuild his home, Yeki said he moved in with a relative while waiting for the City to provide emergency building kits as it usually did for fire victims. After waiting for several days, he began collecting wooden planks and bought other building materials worth R700 on credit to rebuild his home.

Yeki sells scrap metal and relies on his pension to buy food. He also has a teenage 18-year-old son who attends high school in Gugulethu.

Also affected by the fire was Mabhuti Mlahleke, his wife, their baby and his brother. The family lost all of their belongings.

Mlahleke and his brother now sleep in their uncle’s room at hostels in Nyanga. While his wife and child have been living with his sister’s family. “I sleep on the floor and [my wife] does the same at my sister’s place. I also miss spending time with my wife and kid,” he said.

In response to GroundUp, Mayco Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, said the City would be assisting the families with interim relief. He said it was important to note that the City was the only metro that provides rebuilding kits to residents affected by fires and flooding.

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