Never again! Sisulu halts Imizamo Yethu rebuilding so hydrants can be installed
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu vowed on Tuesday that residents of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay would never be hit by a fire disaster again.
This‚ she explained‚ was because of the intervention government was going to make in the informal settlement‚ where 4,000 shacks were burnt down on Saturday.
Sisulu was addressing the media after a marathon meeting with Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela‚ City of Cape Town councillors and community leaders in Hout Bay. She said agreement had been reached to halt rebuilding by residents so that reblocking could take place and fire hydrants could be installed. The reblocking would allow for more space between structures.
“The city engineering department has worked out a way in which we can avert fires of this nature in future by ensuring that we have the natural breaks where it is also possible for emergency services to drive to affected areas‚” she said.
“We are coming here for the last time to deal with a disaster in Hout Bay." Sisulu said the next time she visited she would like it to be to hand over houses. Madikizela said they were getting cooperation from community leaders and his government had started to profile affected people to understand who would qualify for support. He said the government was looking for land to relocate some of the residents and the profiling would help in that precess.
"There are people who are non-qualifiers ... the reblocking that the city is busy with will assist us in terms of opening space there because those people will not be given formal houses‚" he said. Addressing the Human Settlements portfolio committee of the Western Cape legislature earlier‚ Madikizela said the numerous foreigners in Imizamo Yethu could not receive a housing subsidy from his department.
In addition‚ many of the South Africans living there did not qualify for government subsidies because their income was too high.
As a result the permanent eradication of the shacks was unlikely to happen. “Shacks are still going to be in Imizamo Yethu [even after houses are built] because those people who do not qualify are still going to live in those shacks‚” said Madikizela.
- TMG Digital/The Times