ECR: Fire Danger for KZN’s Poor

Jadhu Place burnt again today. As usual the City is blaming the fire on ‘illegal electricity connections”. Every fire is automatically blamed on self organised electricity connections – and the media often repeat this uncritically. Later it usually comes that the cause was a stove or a candle – the deeper cause remains the way in which the poor are forced to live.

Fire Danger for KZN’s Poor

23 April 2012 – 08:07
By Shaun Ryan
As the cold weather grips KwaZulu-Natal, people living in informal settlements have been urged to be extra cautious when lighting fires or paraffin stoves to keep warm.

Shack Dwellers Association Abahlali baseMjondolo says small fires and candles for example, can be a major fire threat in densely populated areas.

Spokepserson, S’bu Zikode says many residents along Durban’s Kennedy Road informal settlement are still battling to rebuild their shelters after a blaze ripped through the area earlier this month.

About 200 homes were destroyed.

The fire began after a family forgot to switch the stove off.

Zikode says however, on the other hand, they are still looking to government to make good on its promise to build permanent houses.

“So the situation right now, it’s quite bad and then we can expect you know, people feeling more cold as their lives are being made miserable by all these floods and shack fires,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the KZN Human Settlements Department says building material, worth R1,7 million, has been made available to residents to rebuild their homes.