Plan to restore houses

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

The South African Writers Union and Art Council (Sawuaco) is on a mission to rebuild three houses that were burnt down and the families left destitute in Westbury, southwest of Johannesburg, this year.

The first house was gutted by fire on June 20 because of a dispute over its ownership within the Simmers family. One of the relatives had decided to torch the house, which resulted in the death of five people.

The second house, belonging to Lionel Schooner, was burnt by an arsonist in the middle of the night on August 13. Schooner apparently owed him money.

The house belonging to his neighbour, Merle Poulton, subsequently caught fire and was also razed to the ground. The Schooners had since moved in with relatives at Ennerdale, Johannesburg south.

Coordinator and Sawuaco chairman Joseph Marble said: "I am doing this campaign because my house at Noordgesig was also burnt down in 1994 for being a state witness in a murder case."

He said the three families and the fire victims tried to get help from the Johannesburg municipality but were unsuccessful even though they had bought their houses from the council.

Marble wants to rebuild the houses before Christmas. "Since Christmas is a time for giving."

To raise funds for this initiative, there will be a car-wash day at 2909 Dowling Avenue, Westbury, on Saturday.