Fire leaves Tafelsig grandmother homeless

Tafelsig neighbours sit around a bonfire with a grandmother, who lost her house in a fire.

Joan Daniels, 63, sits every night with her neighbours around a bonfire in her backyard, where her house and a wendy house used to be.

Her two grandsons, who lived with her in the house, sleep at a neighbour’s home.

Five families were left destitute when a fire ravaged four properties, two back-to-back, in Marcia and Miranda streets in Tafelsig – at about 6am on Friday February 26.

Ms Daniels said: “At the moment I don’t have a place to stay.

“I sleep in the yard during the day, when my grandsons, aged 11 and 13, are at Huguenot Primary School.

“I sleep in the open air. Thanks be to God that I haven’t had rain yet,” she said.

Ms Daniels said she is grateful to her neighbours who bring the firewood and come sit with her every evening.

She would like some good Samaritans to rebuild her home.

“I’ve lost everything. Everything is gone. There have been organisations, who brought clothing and groceries but we need help with a structure to cover our heads,” she said.

Fire destroyed four properties.

Ms Daniels said her first priority was to ensure her family had a place to stay.

Jermaine Carelse, spokesman for the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service, said they were alerted to the blaze in Marcia Street at 6.25am and that crews, from Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Strand, Gugulethu, Landsdowne and Mfuleni fire stations had responded.

The fire, he said, had destroyed three informal structures and one formal house and that another two hoouses had been partially damaged.

“The fire was extinguished at 8.10am and no injuries were reported,” he said.

In response to a Plainsman enquiry regarding further assistance for the five families, the City said it used dedicated grant funding to provide emergency and humanitarian assistance on a case by case basis for residents affected on council-owned land or facilities.

Until recently, the City provided relief kits to residents in informal settlements and some backyarders affected by fires, which was subject to grant funding from the national government, which has been cut.

Incidents of fire on City-owned land or premises are assessed to see what help could be provided. This may take the form of what the City referred to as “soft relief” in some instances, such as donations, site clearing, verification and assessments for assistance.