Residents at the Marikana informal settlement in Cato Crest, Durban are in desperate need of assistance after a fire destroyed several households.
A 38-year-old woman, Nomasamson Dlamini was killed by a fire that raged through the Marikana informal settlement on Sunday. A 16-year-old, Cebo Mpiliso, also sustained severe injuries and has been hospitalised. Altogether, housing activists say that more than 45 households were affected by the fire.
The fire took place in the area known as the Nqobile section of the Marikana occupation.
The affected section of the settlement is named after the late Nqobile Nzuza. Nzuza was a seventeen-year-old girl who was shot and killed by a police officer during a 2018 housing protest.
Speaking to The Daily Vox, one of the people affected by the fire, Duduzile Hlephu said residents were in desperate need of help.
“We need any help we can get. We don’t have food or blankets. Everything has been burnt. Right now we are sitting outside and we are struggling,” Hlephu said.
In a statement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, a shack dwellers movement advocating for rights of informal settlement residents described the effects of the fire.
“Their homes have become ashes. They do not have materials to rebuild their homes […] Winter is upon us and many people will be trying to find ways to keep themselves warm. For those living in shack settlements this is very difficult as we have to watch our homes are not burnt.”
The Cato Crest informal settlement has long been a site of land occupations with the eThekweni Municipality often destroying many of the houses constructed there. The residents have been fighting for basic services since 2008. Abahlali said: “Cato Crest has been facing a lot of repression from the municipality.”
How to help:
If you would like to assist the people affected by the fire, get in touch with them through the following contact information. Shoprite vouchers can be sent to Duduzile Hlephu to assist the affected. Here is the link.
Duduzile Hlephu 078 209 5908
Siphokuhle Makhwenkana 073 222 9369
Thapelo Mohapi 074 774 4219
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274