Pictured above: Residents paint their replacement shacks after they were destroyed in Makause.
By Max Rambau, CORC
On Saturday, the 2nd October some fire broke out at Makause Informal Settlement near Germiston in one of the shacks.
The main reason I went to Makause was to find out how many shacks had been rebuilt by the “Red Ants”.
Allegedly, one resident came back late at home and decided to light a primus stove to make himself some food. He fell asleep and it is not clear whether the fire was caused by the primus stove or the candle burnt out and caused fire in the shacks.
Fortunately, the man was rescued by other residents and was taken to the hospital. By this time the fire had spread to about 148 shacks in the area. Unfortunately, the man died in hospital after four days.
Residents also informed us that the trees and strong winds in the area also helped to spread the fire.
We asked the local leadership as to how many shacks had been rebuilt they were not able to give us numbers but we observed that while some shacks had been rebuilt, very few had been finished and most shacks were still to be rebuilt.
The “Red Ants” had left after two days without finishing their work. They said they were expecting the Ekurhuleni Municipality to give them another contract in order to finish rebuilding.
Some residents had begun rebuilding by themselves and some neighbouring companies are lending a hand.
PG Bison have pledged to donate doors. Wits Mining are donating beds and the community is compiling lists of people who should be receiving beds.
There are other companies that want to assist the residents by donating building material and other forms of aid.
The Ekurhuleni Disaster Management Department has been supplying foodstuffs and blankets to the residents since the fire disaster.
The Ekurhuleni Housing Department has also been lending a hand by interacting with the affected community.
The local leadership was expected to hold a meeting today (10/10/2010) to prepare for the funeral of the dead man that will be held in Limpopo. The leadership is also busy collecting funds to assist with funeral costs. They were also going to seek donations from the local SAPS as they had good relations with them.
It is unfortunate that it had to take this fire disaster for the local leadership from the many community structures to realize that it was crucial to work together and put their differences aside. Perhaps this is a sign of good things to come at Makause and I indicated to them that if this were to be the situation then it would be good for the community.