Protest by people left homeless by Durban fire

Human settlements MEC promised them building materials

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About 150 people, tired of sleeping on plastic in tents for a week since their shacks burnt down in Quarry Road, Durban, protested on Tuesday. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko.

About 150 people left homeless after a shack fire in Quarry road informal settlement a week ago (16 November) have protested over the conditions they have been left in. At around 2:30am on Tuesday, they blocked the M19 highway, west of Durban with burning tyres. Public order police re-opened the road.

Responding to the fire on 17 November 2023, Human Settlements MEC Sipho Nkosi promised to fast-track the delivery of materials for them to rebuild.

Besides being fed-up with sleeping on plastic covered ground in a tent, people want to rebuild urgently as some plan to visit family during the December holidays and do not want to leave their plots without shacks on them.

The protest was also prompted by concerns that about a thousand people left homeless by a fire over six weeks ago in Foreman informal settlement, also in ward 25, have still not received building materials.

Community leader Nomandla Nqalula said the municipality had not provided them with a toilet and their children were using the grounds of the church nearby. This had caused unhappiness with members of the congregation.

Shembe Baptist Church member Musa Zungu said, “Even though we are worried about them and understand that they are desperate, they must respect our church.”

Ward 25 Councillor Themba Mkhize said he would push for the building materials to be delivered as well as a toilet and mattresses.

EThekwini municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said that since April 2023 it is the responsibility of the national Department of Human Settlements to provide building materials as part of disaster management after fires in informal settlements.

The department’s spokesperson Nozipho Zulu said the building materials are expected to be delivered from Monday 27 November.

“We have requested the quotation from the supplier … We have given them up until end of 22 November to give us the quotation,” said Zulu.

TOPICS:  Fire Housing

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