By: Dennis Cruywagen
Cape Town: President Jacob Zuma has commended aid organisation, Gift of the Givers, for playing an instrumental role in helping those left homeless by the devastating fires in Khayelitsha earlier this year.
“We appreciate it. This is an example of what people must do in an emergency. What Gift of the Givers is doing is a national example,” said Zuma on Friday.
The President made these remarks after inspecting a dwelling which is one of many the NGO is planning to hand over to the City of Cape Town. The unit seen by the President contained a bed, enough food supplies for three months and crockery, among others.
At least 100 of these units will be built by the organization, which has gained international acclaim and respect for assisting those in need.
The units, which are in the vicinity of the OR Tambo town hall in Khayelitsha, will be used by people who have lost everything in the fires that swept through informal settlements in Khayelithsa in January.
Regional manager of the NGO, Allauddin Sayed, said: “It’s an honour. We’re blessed that the President came to look at the dwellings.”
Earlier, President Zuma met with hundreds of those who survived the fire. He was accompanied by several officials, including the Ministers of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale, Health Aaron Motsoaledi, Home Affairs Naledi Pandor, Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.
The President asked the ministers present to give him comprehensive reports of the fire, its affects and government’s intervention. He promised residents he would return for a follow-up visit.
President Zuma also gave new identity document (ID) books to those who lost their belongings in the fire.
One of them was Nomthandazo Damane, who was there with her three-month-old baby girl, Ngcwele. “I lost everything in the fire on January 1 – my ID book, my birth certificate.” Left homeless, she is one of many people accommodated in the hall by the City of Cape Town.
De Lille reported to the President that the City of Cape Town had dealt with a total of eight fires on January 1. “We’ve worked with the province and national government to restore the dignity of our people,” she said. About 330 families were living in the venue where the meeting was being held, while another 460 families were being accommodated elsewhere.
So far, Cape Town has spent R40 million on temporary accommodation. Another R60 million is to be used to provide permanent accommodation. “We want to move people out of this hall as soon as possible,” said de Lille.