Relocation camps replace tents for hundreds of Hout Bay fire families

Imizamo Yethu residents lost their homes in a massive fire in March. Picture Credit: Esa Alexander
Imizamo Yethu residents lost their homes in a massive fire in March. Picture Credit: Esa Alexander

Four temporary relocation camps are being planned in Hout Bay for Imizamo Yethu residents who lost their homes in a massive fire in March.

City of Cape Town mayor Patrica de Lille said the camps were needed because the rebuilding of the informal settlement would take longer than anticipated.

“The terrain is mountainous and therefore very difficult to build on‚” De Lille told a media briefing on Wednesday.

 “We remain committed to this project‚ but the current conditions in Tent City require a more comfortable arrangement for the fire victims for the next three months while this project is completed.”

The so-called Tent City — three marquees at Imizamo Yethu sports complex — houses 237 families who lost their homes in the fire.

 De Lille said the first relocation camp would be built on the sports field.

 “We have already dismantled one of the tents and started erecting 3m x 3m structures‚” she said.

“This week‚ 53 identified families from one tent will move into these structures. We will then continue erecting structures to accommodate the 61 families in the second tent‚ so that this tent can be taken down as well.

 “We have already erected 10 standpipes on the field to meet the sanitation needs of the community. We will monitor the chemical toilets closely to ensure they are regularly serviced.”

The second relocation area‚ with 160 structures‚ would be on the forestry site in Imizamo Yethu where formal housing was being built‚ but De Lille said the structures would not hinder the housing project. “It will provide 946 housing opportunities‚ with the first residents moving in in July 2018.”

Two other camps — in Hughenden Estate (300 families) and Penzance (80 families) — required earthworks and would be used later and only if required.

A statement from Imizamo Yethu community leaders said they were happy with the idea of relocation camps.

 “We ... give the city the undertaking that we will ensure the cooperation of the community so that everything that we have agreed upon is implemented‚” they said.

 “We have worked very well with the city thus far. We thank you‚ Usodolophu (mayor)‚ for your leadership. Without you and your team in the City of Cape Town‚ we wouldn’t have gotten this far.

 “Your leadership and tolerance has given us hope that together we can progress to a better South Africa than it is today. We hope that some few individuals who see blacks as people to be separated from them will now change their attitude.”


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