15 May 2017

South Africa: One Killed and Over 20 Homes Destroyed in Samora Machel

"When I heard noise from neighbours it was too late to collect anything except my ID"

A man was killed in a fire that destroyed over 20 homes in Zwelitsha informal settlement in Samora Machel on Sunday morning.

According to a resident in Zwelitsha, the man who died was not from Zwelitsha. He was visiting a friend when the fire broke out.

The fire broke out at about 2:30am and destroyed 22 structures, according to the City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service.

Khululwa Ncwadi, 42, who works at a pre-school in the area, said: "I really do not know what to do now. My grade 4 and 11 school children will not go to school tomorrow (Monday). They lost all their uniforms and books to the fire".

"When I heard noise from neighbours it was too late to collect anything except my ID."

Grade 12 learner Thobani Yozi from Zisukhanyo Senior School also lost her belongings. "All I can do tomorrow is visit the school and try to explain to my teachers what has happened. Maybe they will understand and allow me in their lessons." Yozi,20, said it was too late to take any important documents. "When people shouted 'Fire! Fire!' I had to run for safety," he said.

Siziwe Makhanco, a farm worker, was carrying her one-year-old baby on her back and crying. "Since morning I have not had any meal. My child is hungry. I have nothing to give her. Breastfeeding is not enough for her," she said.

Most people who spoke to Groundup urged the City to build brick houses for them or rather provide electricity in the area.

People we spoke to were not sure of the cause of the fire but suspected someone left a candle burning. The fire brigade arrived within 30min.

On Sunday during the day the City's Disaster Risk Management was handing out wooden planks, Iron sheets and nails to residents who had lost their homes so they could begin rebuilding.

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