Mercury: Residents struggle after fire

The Mercury continues to report as if the Councillor’s connection is an elected representative in Foreman Road….But it is interesting how both she and the councillor are now making some of the old Abahlali demands – taps, fire hydrants, houses. Although Baig is still talking about relocation and his handful of people in the settlement are welcoming the bulldozers….The morning after the fire a mass meeting open to all was held by the residents. A clear decision was taken to rebuild and not to accept a transit camp on the site or elsewhere.Clearly the people’s views do no count for the councillor, the housing department or the newspaper…

Residents struggle after fire

September 16, 2008 Edition 1


THOUSANDS of people were left destitute are struggling to rebuild their lives after more than 2 000 shacks at the Foreman Road informal settlement, in Clare Hills, Durban, were engulfed by flames at the weekend.

Residents complained that they have been waiting since Sunday for bulldozers to clear the area before they can rebuild their shacks.

The fire left nearly 4 000 people homeless.

One man died in the fire.

The Red Cross has provided several tents to house the residents until their shacks are rebuilt, while other aid organisations are providing food, clothing, mattresses and blankets.

However, settlement resident Zonke Busuku said yesterday that she had slept out in the cold with her children because all the tents had been full.

“We are tired because we have been waiting for a long time for the bulldozers to clear the area. There has been no progress. We haven’t been going to work therefore we will not get paid, and our children are writing exams but are unable to go to school because their books and uniforms were destroyed by the fire.

“We stink because we haven’t had a bath in three days,” she said.

Informal settlement chairman Patricia Mjoli said they were grateful that the social development department had provided them with gel stoves, which were much safer than paraffin stoves.

Ward councillor Yacoob Baig said efforts would be made to install more taps and fire hydrants at the settlement while the residents waited to be relocated. He said the residents of the Foreman and Kennedy roads informal settlements would be prioritised for homes at a new housing development.