Reporter: Patricia Maselesele

On Wednesday 11 November 2015, at around lunchtime, about a 1000 families in Msawawa Informal settlement in Kya sands lost their homes in a fire that broke out in the area.

It is suspected that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder, but this has not yet been confirmed.

It is worth noting that one of the main causes of the fire spreading so quickly is because of how close the shacks are to each other in Msawawa.

This has also made it difficult for fire trucks to put out the fire as they can’t drive between the shacks. The City of Johannesburg has ignored numerous pleas by the residents of Msawawa to be relocated and provided with better living conditions.

In October 2014,” I asked the office of the mayor if they had plans to address the congestion situation at Msawawa. Mayor Parks Tau responded yes but could not provide specific timelines on when this would happen”, said Matome Mafokwane

It is sad, that many residents in Msawawa have now lost everything they own because of the City’s inaction. Had the metro acted when the DA advised it to, this situation could have been avoided.

I will therefore be writing to both the CoJ mayor, Councillor Parks Tau and the MMC for housing, Councillor Dan Bovu asking what plans the municipality has to relocate the people of Msawawa informal settlement so as to avoid the repeat of today’s unfortunate occurrence.

It is also critical that the City of Johannesburg ensures that those who lost their homes in the fire get the emergency assistance they need.

The DA will continue fighting for the rights of the Msawawa community.

I am on the ground with the community and will be providing support and assistance where needed.

I appeal to those who want to donate food, toiletries and other resources that can help the victims of today’s fire to contact me directly on 084 854 4950.