WATCH: Homes gutted in Kayamandi leaving over 1 000 residents displaced

Published Apr 8, 2024


Cape Town - More than 1 000 residents in Kayamandi informal settlement, Stellenbosch, have been displaced after a fire ripped through their shacks on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, the residents returned to their incinerated homes and collected the zinc they could still use.

Resident Ntatheng Lehlapa, said she was at home when she smelt smoke and when she went to investigate, her neighbour’s shack was ablaze.

“I was told that my neighbour went to his shack to cook meat and left the pot on the stove and then went to drink.

“He wasn’t even aware of the fire until people went to get him.”

However, the owner of the shack, Masiphile Mbuku, said he was not at home when the fire started.

“I was drinking with my neighbours and people came to tell me my shack was alight, people went to my shack and kicked the door, the fire was near the bed and not where the stove was.

“I was not responsible for the blaze. I really don’t know what started the fire.”

Fire victim Gabisile Nkani said strong winds fanned the fire.

“If the wind wasn’t blowing like that then things would have turned out differently. The fire spread very quickly.

“At first it was only five homes, and then more shacks were on fire.

“The sad thing is that this is not the first time we had a fire this year.

“We had a fire in January and now just a few months later we have to rebuild our home.

“The street here is named Fire Street because of the incidents we’ve had.”

Ward councillor Ayanda Tomose said they were assisting the victims.

“We still need to count the homes which were gutted and then after that we will know the exact number of people affected.

“This will also help with the fire kits which consist of building materials, supplies for children, blankets and toiletries and sponge mattresses.

“We are speaking to other stakeholders to assist the residents.”

Gift of the Givers’ Ali Sablay said they were called into the area by community members.

“The weather warnings went from level 6 to 9 as the strong winds were picking up and the people had to be evacuated for their safety.

“They have already lost their belongings and we are trying to prevent the loss of life because of the metal sheets blowing around.

“We will remain on the ground and assist with the blankets, warm meals and all the relevant items.

“The main concern is as the weather pattern intensifies today with heavy storms, they will have to stay in the halls until the place is declared safe. We are on standby for any further disasters.”