200 Shacks Burnt in Christmas Day Fire Disaster in Foreman Road

Update, 17 February, 2008: Click here to see new video footage of the aftermath of the Foreman Road fire.

There has never been holiday in jondolos, while everyone celebrates Christmas. Abahlali in Foreman Road got up at 11:00pm when their homes were in flames. Most residents have not been around, some were out for Christmas while others went to farms for Christmas. More than two hundreds shacks were burnt down which amounts to about five hundreds people being left homeless including women and children. The fire Dept. came at least quicker than expected although it took them at least four hours before it was fully blown off. No injuries and deaths reported.

The movement is calling upon every contribution that could help in housing the houseless, they could not move any of their belongings. Foods, clothings, building materials etc will be appreciated. The sad part is for those who will be returning from homes this afternoon and after holidays without anything. Abahlali’s call for Land and Housing has been trying to address all these kinds of death threats and secure a clean, health and safe environment for all shack dwellers in the city.

For further enquries please contact Mr Mnikelo Ndabankulu the Deputy chairperson of the area and Abahlali P.R.O on 0735656241 or Mqapheli George on 078224544

S’bu Zikode

Update: It’s now apparent that just over 200 shacks burnt down and that around 500 people have been left homeless but this figure may well be higher as many people have returned to rural homes for the holidays. People are now rebuilding using the few salvaged pieces of corrugated iron that can be beaten flat. The neighbours in the big houses, with whom the Foreman Road settlement has an excellent relationship, have helped with some wood for rebuilding. This time the City’s Disaster Management Dept came through with some blankets and food. Cllr Yakoob Baig brought some biryani round – people refused to take it.

Cindezela lapha ukubona Isolezwe
Click here to see the article in the Daily News.

Threat to Torch Houses in Motala Farm
In Motala Farm a man claiming to be the cousin of Cllr Dimba has threatened to burn down the houses of James Pillay and Mallie Govender. Local landlord Ricky Govender had threatened to bulldoze their houses but they won a court order interdicting Govender from demolishing their houses or threatening them. Since them they have been continually threatened by relatives and associates of Govender and it now seems that he may have got the local councillor on his side. This would not be the first time. On Women’s Day last year Dimba personally threatened residents (who were opposing evictions demanded by Govender) with a drawn pistol and told them, in high apartheid style, to “go back to the farms where you come from” – those residents later won an interdict halting the City’s illegal evictions. The City then returned to continue evicting but finally left the residents in peace after the SAPS threatened City officials with arrest.

For further information on the situation in Motala Farm click here.