FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
09 July 2023
Port Shepstone – KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, led a government disaster response team to provide relief to the community of Masinenge Informal settlement in Port Shepstone.
The residents tragically lost their belongings in a devastating fire that occurred in the early hours of Saturday.
On Sunday, MEC Sithole-Moloi visited the area to hand over disaster relief and brief the victims on the government’s response to assist them in rebuilding their homes, starting from Monday.
The fire outbreak had a severe impact on the KwaMasinenge informal settlement, destroying 111 households and leaving over 300 people homeless. Unfortunately, one person passed away during the fire, while another suffered minor injuries and was treated on the scene.
In response, a provincial disaster team comprising various government departments, local and district municipalities, public agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private businesses has been on the ground providing relief.
The teams worked tirelessly to provide the affected residents with food, shelter, and assistance in obtaining new personal documents such as identity documents and SASSA cards.
MEC Sithole-Moloi conducted an assessment by walking through the burnt shacks to evaluate the extent of the damage and determine the required government intervention.
So far, the disaster response team has provided over 400 blankets, 166 plastic sheetings, and 200 mattresses to the victims.
Most victims sought temporary shelter with relatives, including the Mandisi family, who tragically lost their 31-year-old son. The relief efforts are being coordinated from a local creche, where the disaster response team operates.
In addition, private organizations such as the Red Cross, Wimpy, Engen, and the Local Business Association are providing three meals a day for all the victims. Social Development officials are also profiling the victims to assist them in replacing their documents, including SASSA cards.
MEC Sithole-Moloi, accompanied by the Director-General from the Department of Human Settlements, confirmed that the victims would start receiving materials to rebuild their structures from tomorrow.
The disaster response team will also aid in the removal of debris to clear the sites.
Expressing her sadness at witnessing such a devastating incident during the winter season, MEC Sithole-Moloi commended the prompt response of the relevant departments and volunteers who are helping cook for the victims.
“While the government’s long-term goal is to provide decent houses, the immediate focus is on assisting the victims in returning to a sense of normalcy by rebuilding their homes.
Some residents have already started rebuilding, and the government will provide support wherever possible.
The Home Affairs department will be present on Monday to assist with issuing identity documents,” MEC Sithole-Moloi stated.
The MEC expressed gratitude for the support of social partners and private businesses in helping those who lost everything in the fire.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, and the MEC cautioned people to remain vigilant during the winter season. She emphasized the importance of not leaving fire, gas stoves, or candles unattended.
Illegal connections were also identified as a challenge, and the communities were urged to exercise caution to prevent similar incidents.
MEC Sithole-Moloi’s visit serves as a demonstration of the government’s commitment to swiftly providing assistance and support to those affected by the fire outbreak.
The disaster response team, consisting of all the relevant departments, will remain on-site until all victims have been profiled and received the necessary disaster relief.
Issued by the KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.