14 November 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
A Second Life has been Lost to the Foreman Road Shack Fire
On Monday we reported that Sisipho Xulu, a two year old boy, had died in hospital after sustaining terrible injuries in the shack fire that devastated the Foreman Road settlement in the early hours of Sunday morning. Yesterday, at around 2 in the afternoon, the community got the sad news that Eric Mpanza, Sisipho’s father, had also died in hospital.
The news came during a tense meeting between the community and Municipality. The Municipality has promised to take care of the costs of the funeral. We hope that this is not more of the usual lies that have been the order of the day for so many years. The Municipality has lied to us, the poor, so many times before that people have lost trust in the officials.
Our movement will stand with the family and the community during this very difficult time. Eric was from Mozambique and we will do what we can to ensure that his body is returned home with dignity. We will work to rebuild the community, and to organise to fight future fires together and to work with the fire department, and to struggle against the oppressive conditions that leave some of us to die in shack fires while others sleep safely at night.
These fires will stop when there is a fair distribution of urban land, based on social need and not profit, and access to services and decent housing for all. These fires continue to happen because our lives to not count as human lives to this society. We remain disposable.
Mqapheli Bonono 0730673274
Thapelo Mohapi 0628925323