STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S ACTING EXECUTIVE MAYOR, ALDERMAN IAN NEILSON
The City of Cape Town, as the lead authority, has restored water and electricity services in Imizamo Yethu following the devastating fire which occurred over the weekend. Standpipes and temporary flood lights are also in the process of being installed. The City’s electricity services, solid waste, and cleansing staff remain on site.
The City continues to work with the national and provincial governments, non-governmental organisation partners, and local community organisations to ensure that there is a coordinated response to the tragedy so that the best long-term outcome can be achieved for all the residents of Imizamo Yethu.
Our Informal Settlements Management Department’s registration process for the number of structures affected is under way and thus far 1 963 affected households have been registered and verified. The provision of building kits (which are a unique City of Cape Town relief tool) and the redesign and restructuring of the area is expected to cost close to R100 million.The redesign will allow us to install firebreaks, pedestrian walkways, and other access to basic and emergency services which we have not been able to do previously due to the density of this settlement.
Approximately 300 City solid waste management staff are also on site and clearing of the debris has begun. It is hoped that the process of removing the debris will be completed early next week.
City officials and our executive and political heads have mostly remained on site since Saturday after the fire was brought under control. Disaster management, humanitarian relief, engagement with residents and community leadership, and provision of comfort in general to the fire-affected residents has been a core part of our City efforts over the past few days.
All three community halls in the area have been made available and are being used. Many of those affected by the fire have opted to stay with friends or relatives. The City has also erected two marquee tents at the request of the community.
In addition, the City’s Environmental Health Department has been working with disaster risk management officials to ensure the safety of all those residents being accommodated in the two marquees and community facilities as a result of the fire.
An environmental health practitioner is on site daily to inspect the living quarters, ablutions, water provision, and the main kitchen at the fire station where two meals per day are being prepared for the beneficiaries.
Due to the scale of the fire and number of residents displaced, safeguarding public health is of utmost importance and the City is doing all it can to ensure shelter, food, water, and ablution facilities for those who were displaced.
To date, the City’s non-governmental organisation partners have distributed the following humanitarian aid:
· Red Cross Society: 8 000 blankets, 28 000 hot meals, 600 baby packs
· Mustadafin Foundation: 20 000 hot meals, 9 000 brunch packages
· Historically Disadvantaged Individuals: 2 100 hot meals, 1 800 brunch packages
We have also had indications that the Western Cape Government could offer assistance with the burial arrangements for the victims.
We call on all community and political leaders to work with us and to ensure that the sites remain unobstructed to allow us to enhance the safety of all our residents in this area.
We remain committed to every single fire-affected resident in Imizamo Yethu and relief will be provided to all legitimate fire-affected beneficiaries.
The City thanks all Capetonians for their generosity and continued support of this community as well as our City efforts during this difficult time.