Cape Town – Two men who died after a fire ravaged more than 100 shacks and displaced more than 200 people in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, on September 17 have been identified.
Thembinkosi Xama died on the night of the fire while Andile Qhena died on September 20 from injuries sustained in the blaze.
Xama’s relative Lumka Tshobeni said the family had to pay R1 500 for a DNA test to confirm his identity so that his body could be released for burial.
She said the death had been hard on her as she had promised Xama’s mother to take care of him and his sisters.
“She told me on her deathbed to take care of her kids, and I did so from that day. I would care for them and love them. This has shocked all of us here. He did everything for them and worked for them. Now they have nothing, no brother and no home, which also burnt down.”
Tshobeni appealed to the public to assist the struggling family in covering funeral costs.
Community leader Samkelo Krweqe said that while some were rebuilding with the damaged materials, others had sought refuge in their extended families and others were still living in the community hall. Those in the community hall included an 89-year-old elderly woman, she said.
“People are still struggling to secure funds to purchase building materials as the City no longer provides material for structures to be rebuilt. While we understand that this incident was not declared a disaster for us to be provided with rebuilding materials, the reality is that people are struggling and are desperate to return to their normal lives,” she said.
Krweqe said that while registrations were made for relief from Sassa, nothing has come out of it. The humanitarian assistance by NGOs gave the residents a brief sense of relief, she added.
Joanne Chemaly, from NGO Thula Thula, said their teams had spent the beginning of the week assessing and registering those who needed assistance, and ended with a mass distribution of toiletries, groceries, bedding and clothing.