Another Shack Fire Rips Through Khayelitsha

18 December 2010
Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape

Another Shack Fire Rips Through Khayelitsha – BE Section Burns



Tonight VE section in Khayelitsha has burnt. At least seven homes have been destroyed.

We have made it clear that as a movement we refuse to accept that it is normal for the homes of the poor to burn like this. We are determined to demand that the plague of shack fires is treated as the crisis that it is and that real steps are taken to free us from this plague.

The immediate first step that needs to be taken is that all shack settlements need to be electrified. We want to assert very clearly that when the state fails to electrify shack settlements we will support all communities to electrify their own settlements in a disciplined, collective and safe manner.

After the recent fire in QQ section we saw on E-TV that the Cape Town Municipality had decided to send out a theatre group to teach shack dwellers how to avoid fires. We are poor not stupid. We know very well what causes fires. We do not need theatre designed for children to teach us how to avoid fires. What we need is electricity and decent housing.

We would like to thank all those people and organisations that provided support to the people of QQ after the recent fire there. Sometimes it takes a crisis for you to realise you are not alone and that there are many people for whom human solidarity does mean something.

Shack fires are not acts of God. They are not merely accidents. Shack fires are a direct result of the social abandonment of the poor and we will never accept them as a normal part of life. They are a result of political choices by the government and we will respond to shack fires politically – with direct action and mass mobilisation.

For further information and comment please contact:

Siziba – Chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo VE Section Khayelitsha 078 058 2106
Mzonke – Chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape 073 256 2036