Fire guts homes in Heinz Park

Disaster relief charity Islamic Relief South Africa lent a helping hand after fire destroyed the homes of seven families, in Heinz Park.

About 40 Heinz Park residents were left homeless after a fire destroyed their homes.

They woke up to the smell of fire and shacks around them in flames on Monday December 2.

A lack of proper roads, water points and the shacks being close to the train tracks made it difficult for firefighters to put out the fire.

The City of Cape Town’s disaster risk management unit called on relief organisation Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA) to rally their resources and assist the seven families in distress, with meals, clothing, shoes, toiletries and water.

IRSA’s regional programmes officer Levona van Aarde urged the public to work with them to alleviate the grinding poverty that so many families find themselves in.

Ms Van Aarde said shack fires were notorious on the Cape Flats and that this part of the settlement had been the scene for other tragedies in the past.

Severalcommunitymembers voiced their anger at the City at the lack of facilities and services in the area.

“For all the years I have lived here, I have never seen a councillor here to attend to our needs. If I saw him the street I wouldn’t recognise him,” said resident Sharon Tarantaal.

She has been living in the area in various structures over the last two decades.

Pensioner Dennis “Oupa” Tarantaal, who has been living in the settlement for the past nine years, sustained burns to his scalp as he tried to rescue his family members.

He is hopeful and positive that the community and the City will help them.

Patrick Ngqu, DA proportional representation (PR) councillor, expressed his gratitude that there had been no deaths.

He said because these families were squatting on land belonging to train authority Prasa, the City was obliged to consult officials there first about an amicable solution.

“These urgent talks are currently under way,” he said.

Anyone with donations and for more information can call Islamic Relief on 080 011 1898 during office hours.