Two weeks ago, a fire ravaged through the Hadji Ebrahim informal settlement in Belgravia, Athlone. The fire believed to have been started by a candle, killed one person and displaced over 120.
However, since then, occupants have not received starter-kits to help rebuild their homes. This is due to the reallocation of monies brought on by the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Mayco member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien stated that Mayor Dan Plato has since assisted with food packs and committed to ensuring the department of human settlements comes on board.
“He has instructed the human settlements department to identify material that can be reused for the community so that they can erect structures again for shelter,” explained Badroodien.
“But up until this stage, I am informed by the ward councilor that they have been temporarily accommodated in a tent,” added Badroodien.
According to residents in the settlement, several affected families have been bundled together to share a marquee that was provisionally supplied by the Al-Jamaah party.
Al-Jamaah’s Western Cape Parliamentary Constituency, Shams Tabrez Sayed explained the party reached out to a benefactor who had donated monies so the tent could be hired for two weeks. However, Sayed says that two weeks ends in the coming days.
Resident at the informal settlement, Nadia Joet described her living conditions as inhumane.
“All I long for is a roof over my head. My children aren’t able to go to school because there is no place I am able to bathe them in privacy. When will we be granted the opportunity to live like decent human beings and not be cooped up like farm animals,” stated an irate Joet.
The same fate lies in the hands Sylvia Hans, mother of twin babies, who lost everything in the fire.
“It hasn’t been easy. Everything perished in the blaze, milk, nappies, clothes and clinic cards. All I have are the clothes on my back. I don’t mind it, all I care about is my babies,” sobbed Hans.
Resident Benned Pofadder said he was concerned for the wellbeing of the women and children in the settlement.
“There is no privacy and the women and children are forced to bathe in front of everyone in the tent and I can assure you that is humiliating,” explained Pofadder.
Certain residents have threatened to protest if the council does not provide them with material to rebuild their structures.
The City continues to appeals to members of the public to assist the victims with social relief in the form of food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing and building material.
To make donations please contact Christa Liebenberg, Manager: Subcouncil 17.
Tel: 021 444 0500
Cell: 084 629 3330