MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Jacob Mamabolo has announced the establishment of an Emergency Intervention Team to coordinate all the emergency relief activities currently taking place in Joe Slovo Park informal settlement following a fire incident in which about 400 shacks were burned down this weekend. MEC Mamabolo visited the informal settlement this afternoon to assess the extent of the damage.
The Intervention Team will be set up on site and will work closely with the community and all organisations and individuals who are making donations and supporting the affected families.
“We are dealing with an emergency and we need to move faster to make sure that all the affected families, including children, women and the aged are well taken care of during this sad period. What we have witnessed is highly traumatic and heart breaking. We need, therefore, to coordinate all activities to make sure that we can assist to rebuilt the lives of this community.”
MEC Mamabolo also announced plans to assist the affected families speed up the process to rebuilt their burned shacks.
“The severity of the situation was caused by the density and congestion of shacks which made it easier for the fire to spread quickly. For that reason we will de-densify and re-orgnanise the living spaces to create access points and create enough spaces between shacks in order to avoid similar cases in future.”
The Department of Human Settlements has already acquired the land adjacent to the informal settlement and the phase one of the building development will start early next year.
MEC Mamabolo also called on communities living in informal settlements to take precautionary measures to avoid fires during the festive season. He noted illegal electricity connections, candles, open fires, and faulty electrical cooking equipment as responsible for some of the of shack fires in a number of informal settlements in the province.
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS