“If you have a nice house, please don’t take. This is only for the people who lost their homes in the fire,” said a policewoman cruising down one of the lines of people waiting to receive something to eat after losing everything in the Boxing Day blaze at Hout Bay’s Imizamo Yethu.
“We have nothing,” was the common refrain from the people waiting in the various lines.
They pleaded for food, clothes and school supplies ahead of the start of the new academic year.
The people lining up each received a few boxes of long-life milk and some packets of powdered food.
Arguments, however, still sometimes broke out over whether some in the queue were just opportunistic passersby.
Over the road, inside the blackened remains of the settlement, fresh-faced youngsters wearing “Save! Volunteers” T-shirts handed out polystyrene cups of Pine Nut cold drink and bottles of water to the people gathered around them.
At another line volunteers from Hout Bay charity Thula Thula handed out toiletry kits donated by Hout Bay residents.
“I need two packs, my wife is at work,” said one man.
A Thula Thula volunteer gave him an extra toothbrush and said he would have to share the rest of the pack with his wife. The packs contain toothpaste, a toothbrush, deodorant, soap and a wash cloth, but it was not immediately clear where they would wash, as the only visible tap was close to the road next to four outdoor toilets.
In another vacant spot, Blue Ribbon employees handed out sliced bread, with music blaring.
“The people of Hout Bay have been wonderful,” said a Thula Thula Hout Bay organiser Joanne Chemaly.
“We have a list of the names of everybody, with their clothing and shoe sizes and the residents are making up clothing packs to give them later. They will also have baby clothes and nappies.”
Chemaly said it would be better if donations were dropped off at Thula Thula’s headquarters on Hout Bay’s main road, to avoid congestion in the single road leading up to the affected section. She said local retailers Pick n Pay and Spar were also helping and had put trolleys out for shoppers to add their donations.
The road up to the settlement was bustling with trucks and bulldozers, with volunteers arriving to drop off supplies. News24