The New Age: 25 shacks burnt to the ground

25 shacks burnt to the ground

Chris Makhaye

As the cold front engulfed many parts of KwaZulu-Natal, 25 shacks were razed to the ground after they caught fire yesterday morning.

In Janata Road, near Springfield, a three-year-old child went missing and one woman was seriously injured in yesterday’s inferno.

Emergency workers were busy for most of the day as they tried to put out the fire before it spread to other shacks. The cause of the fire is believed to be a primus stove which was left burning in a shack.

The fire is the latest in a series of recent infernos in informal settlements around Durban. Just two weeks ago 350 shacks burnt down in the sprawling Kennedy Road informal settlement, northwest of Durban.

The cause of that fire was said to be a paraffin stove left burning in a house while the owners were out.

The human settlements department says building material, worth R1,7m, has been made available to residents to rebuild their homes, but many local residents had not yet rebuilt their lives.

The Abahlali baseMjondolo Shack Dwellers Association warned shack dwellers to be careful when they light fires during winter as these infernos can be caused by a single individual, but end up affecting the whole community.

Spokesperson S’bu Zikode said 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.

”Every time there is a disaster the authorities promise big things. But once the media is gone they go back to their arrogant selves. “In Kennedy Road they promised R1.7m to build people’s houses.

Where is that money now that winter is upon us?” he said.