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City of Cape Town allocates over R5m to help residents affected by informal settlement fires

Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, at the  Masiphumelele fire site on 1 November 2022.

Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, at the Masiphumelele fire site on 1 November 2022.

PHOTO: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

  • More than R5 million has been allocated to residents affected by recent fires which left thousands misplaced.
  • The City said materials to rebuild homes should be delivered to the areas in the next two weeks.
  • Phola Park, Khayelitsha, Dunoon and Masiphumelele residents were affected by the informal settlement fires. 

The City of Cape Town has allocated more than R5 million to residents who were affected by recent fires in informal settlements last month.

The focus will be on residents who have not rebuilt their homes, with Phola Park in Philippi being a priority.

Earlier this year more than a thousand people from Dunoon, Masiphumelele, and Phola Park had the daunting task of rebuilding their lives after fires ripped through the informal settlements. 

At the time, humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers, was on the ground at all three locations to assist those affected by the fires with care packs, hot meals, bottles of water, blankets, and mattresses. In a statement by the City, it said the allocation of monies was included in their January Adjustments Budget, which was tabled in council more than a week ago.

READ | ‘I came back to no house’: More than a thousand people displaced after fires ripped through homes in Cape Town

“The funds have been availed to the City by the national government from the Municipal Emergency Grant. The City awaits the funding to start the procurement of fire kits and materials,” the City added.

The allocation of funds will be used to help verified beneficiaries that have not been rebuilt yet in areas determined by the Minister of Human Settlements which will include Phola Park, Khayelitsha, Dunoon, and Masiphumelele.

“Phola Park is a priority and the City awaits the delivery schedule from the building kit material supplier. It is hoped that if all goes to plan, we will be able to start the delivery process within approximately the next two weeks,” said the City.

The allocation translates to approximately 400 emergency building units. The allocation also includes other emergency relief work, and not just fire kits.

READ | ‘We don’t have a home on New Year’s Day’ – displaced Dunoon residents after devastating fire

“On average, from the number of fires the City experiences per year, a budget of approximately R42 million is required to assist residents with building kits. However, this allocation for the recent fires goes some way to at least enable the City to again provide some relief outside of declared disasters,” the City said. 

According to the statement, in older, long-existing City-supplied informal settlements, where it has been possible, almost 100% of the settlements are electrified.

Due to the growth of informal settlements over the past decade, budget requirements have increased drastically as incidents requiring fire and flood response have shot up.

“Most of the newly formed settlements over the past three years have been in areas prone to fires and floods due to the terrain and [there is] also the density of settlements.

“Unlawful occupations have also occurred in areas where there are no bulk services, or where none have ever been planned, as the areas occupied are wetlands, nature reserves, dunes, and other water bodies.

“A cause of the fires in some areas can be attributed to unsafe electrical connections from illegal connections,” the city said.

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