Sowetan: No joy despite food parcels

Jan 5, 2011 | Michael Nkalane

“HOW can you only give food to someone who does not have a place to sleep? We will eat, then what follows after? I do not understand how our government thinks. Our government is stupid,” said Luyanda Lekwe of Masiphumelele in Fish Hoek.

He was expressing his concern yesterday during a visit by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies where 166 shacks were gutted by fire on Sunday, leaving 500 families destitute.

The disgruntled Lekwe said instead of giving food parcels the government should have a corrugated iron factory in place ready for such disasters.

“I understand that they don’t live in these appalling conditions,” he said.

Re-erecting his gutted shack with damaged material, Luyanda Mbane said the only way to avoid fires, which occurred frequently, was to install electricity.

“As long as we do not have electricity in shacks we will continue to endure such fires,” he said.

Handing over food parcels the minister told residents that government was offering its solidarity. He cautioned them against using flammable materials.

“From now we will pay attention to the safety of shacks. We will prevent these fires from happening by making sure that paraffin stoves sold to people meet safety requirements,” he promised.

He said residents would be built decent houses. According to residents, the fire was caused by an unattended stove.

Zwelethu Stata, who arrived yesterday from Eastern Cape, said he was greeted by an empty space where his shack used to be.

“I lost belongings such as wall units, a washing machine, sofas and my bed,” he said.

When Sowetan spoke to him he was re-erecting his shack.

“But my concern is that I am short of material. We are a family of six here.

They are still in Eastern Cape and I do not know how I am going to break the news to them,” he said.

Neliswa Madubula said at least her family of six would have something to cook.

She said she had managed to save only her suitcase.

“I lost everything. I will never forget that Sunday.”