IFP: KZN government to blame for Masinenge shack fire

The ANC-led government is to blame for the shack fire in Masinenge Informal Settlement in Margate, on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, which left more than 40 families without homes. It is alleged that an exploding gas stove started the blaze.

The dwellers of Masinenge Informal Settlement have been let down by the KZN Department of Human Settlements, which has failed to provide them with decent housing.

Early in 2020, they staged a protest demanding answers as to when the housing project would resume. By that time the contractor was on site, with a plan to start building 298 RDP houses. This work was done under the Masinenge Slum Clearance Project, launched by former Human Settlements MEC, Ravi Pillay, and the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality in 2013. The ineptitude of the KZN Department of Human Settlements has resulted in this community living for many years in unacceptable conditions in these shacks, without proper basic services.

The IFP demands that the KZN MEC for Human Settlements, Hon. Jomo Sibiya, urgently attends to this misfortune and provides a plan to have proper housing units built for the people of Masinenge. The service provider must be given a clear timeframe for the construction of the Masinenge houses, so that there are no further delays.

We are aware that the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has moved to set aside almost R100 million for housing projects across the province for military veterans. However, the IFP feels that the same sum – or more – should be provided for shack dwellers. The plans to eradicate shacks in our province should be visible. It cannot be acceptable that in 2021 we still have people who live in shacks under such horrific conditions.

The IFP calls upon the KZN Department of Human Settlements to ensure that all those in need of housing are treated equally. Military veterans must not be prioritised over other citizens in the allocation of housing in the province.

The IFP is not against the provision of houses for military veterans.

However, it would like to remind the Department of Human Settlements that there are people in many areas who have been waiting for RDP houses since the dawn of democracy. They have been on waiting lists for houses for many years, yet the Department is slow in providing them with the help they need. In areas like eThekwini Metro and other cities, there are people who have been living in informal settlements and temporary houses (olindela) for more than 15 years.

This is not acceptable.

We urge the KZN MEC for Human Settlements, Jomo Sibiya, to expedite the construction of the Masinenge housing project and many other housing projects for shack dwellers.

Mrs Thokozile Gumede, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Human Settlements
073 583 8585