A Hanover Park family fears for its safety after a fire broke out in the court the family members live in, causing damage to their flat.
Moray Court residents, Fatima Johnson and her daughter Zainoenesa Manus who are among the six people who live in the council-owned third floor flat, live in fear as the cracks in their walls are worsening.
Ms Manus said the fire, which broke out on Tuesday August 22, started in a backyard dwelling at about 2pm.
After hearing an argument between people in a wendy house on the property, she looked out of the window and saw flames.
“We tried to put the pipe through the window and douse the flames, but our water pressure is too slow so it didn’t really help. The whole wendy house burnt,” she said.
The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesman, Theo Layne said they responded to a fire at 2.22pm on the day, deploying 18 firefighters, two fire engines, two water tankers, one hydraulic platform and a rescue vehicle from Wynberg, Ottery, Roeland Street, Gugulethu and Epping fire stations.
“Probable cause was due to a cooking device left unattended. I am not sure in which dwelling the fire started. Four formal structures and one informal structure was destroyed in the blaze,” he said.
Ms Manus said the floor in one of their two bedrooms had been damaged, and as a result, they’ve had to move everything out of the room – including the people who usually sleep in there.
She said most of their belongings have been moved to her sister’s place.
The pair now fear that their walls will break down as the cracks in the kitchen and bedroom walls are getting worse by the day.
Ms Johnson said she had been liaising with the Hanover Park rent office about their situation but was not satisfied with the progress.
She said on Wednesday September 20, the City of Cape Town gave them a shipping container to move into while repairs are undertaken, but, she says, it is too small for her family of six. It also has no bathroom or shower in it.
Ms Johnson said that after complaining about this to the rental office, the City delivered a mobile toilet which she says is now being used by the public and is a “whore house” at night.
“The City says they work for you but they are not working for me. They keep saying they are waiting on insurance but nothing gets done. They told me it can take up to six months but how can we wait that long? And they expect all six of us to live in a container. Do they expect us to go out at night to use the toilet?” said Ms Johnson.
“They want us to vacate but I will not move into that container unless they start working here because otherwise this place will be vandalised as well and if we move into the containers we must still pay rent for the flat,” she said.
City spokesperson Hayley van der Woude confirmed that “a standard temporary accommodation container” had been delivered to Moray Court at the beginning of September.
“It is the (Tenancy Management) Department’s understanding that the tenant declined three offers of alternative accommodation in Hanover Park,” Ms Van der Woude added.
She said the department had provided an electrical supply, a water supply, and a standard mobile chemical toilet. And on Ms Johnson’s allegations that it was being used for illicit sexual activity, Ms Van der Woude said: “The accommodation container is lockable to prevent illicit use,” said Ms Van der Woude.
Athlone News had also asked the City whether the flat had been condemned; whether the City had assessed the damage to the flat; when the repair work would be done; and whether there was truth to Ms Johnson’s allegation that she had been told that repairs could not be undertaken because of the gang violence in Hanover Park. These questions, however, remained unanswered.