Help sought for displaced eRhawutini fire victims

Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality mayor alongside council Speaker Bongiwe van Heerden talking to Masithini Dyasi a resident of Rhawutini who said he had no place to stay

Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality mayor Luleka Gubula has urged more donors to work with the municipality to help displaced eRhawutini informal settlement residents who lost their homes and other valuables in a fire on Monday.

“We are asking people to help donate whatever they can, whether it is food or clothes.”

About 23 of the residents are currently housed at Gali Thembani Youth Care Centre in Madeira Park.

On Tuesday, Gubula along with council Speaker, Bongiwe van Heerden and chief whip, Nombuyiselo Ndlebe, visited the displaced residents.

The residents have been receiving meals along with privately donated clothes and blankets.

eRhawutini fire victim Gcobosa Zungula with Enoch Mgijima council Speaker Bongiwe van Heerden. Zungula is temporarily living at Gali Thembani Youth Centre with her partner and child who is three weeks old Picture: NTSIKELELO QOYO

The mayor inspected their living conditions at the centre including ensuring social distancing was in place.

Earlier the mayor had visited the site of the fire and told residents who remained there that the municipality would try and assist them.

“We know no one ever plans for such tragedies. What happened on Monday was very painful and we want to say as the municipality we are with you.

“We know many of you have lost your belongs in the fire including essential documents like identification documents. We will liaise with the relevant departments to help those we can.”

Gubula discouraged rebuilding of homes, urging residents to wait for a disaster management team’s report.

“It is not that we are destroying the settlement. But we will not help rebuild any structures here until we have a complete report.

“The issue is that this was never an area that was officially handed over to people to build. It is not private land. We ask people to wait so that as we move forward there will not be issues that cause tensions between yourselves and the municipality.

“We must warn however that we know that some people who live here in fact have received homes from government and others are renting out up to 15 shacks in land that is not even their own. These are some of the things we will have to look into before people are allocated temporary shelter.”

Yaya Mete, an eRhawutini resident was told not to erect a new structure as the municipality was still waiting for a report from disaster management                                                                      Picture: NTSIKELELO QOYO

She asked for patience while temporary structures would be erected and asked those who had no place to stay to move to Gali Thembani.

On Wednesday, ward councillor, Mncedisi Mbengo was at The Rep offices to collect clothes to hand out to the affected residents.

“What occurred in eRhawutini was an unfortunate accident and we currently have about 30 people needing assistance. We are trying very hard to move the people as soon as we can, understanding there is also a virus making rounds.

“If anyone is interested in helping they can contact me or the communications office at Enoch Mgijima,” said Mbengo.

Bongani Mfaku along with ward 14 councillor Mncedisi Mbengo at The Rep offices to pick up clothes to hand out to the fire victims                           Picture: NTSIKELELO QOYO



  1. This thing yaseRhawutini was very painful to the old man because he didn’t do anything about starting fire or what he also loose his many staff but the municipality team the way the toch old man was not good at all…that old man also need to be defended by the leaders of Queenstown I’m really offended by the way they toch the old man

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