published by the
Hout Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association (HBRRA)
Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay
Fires in Imizamo Yethu
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Shack Farming and Fires
Minutes before the fire erupted in IY on the 20th of November, the RAHB Chairperson received an e mail from a resident:
“I regularly visit Imizamu Yethu in the course of my work, but had not visited for 2 weeks or so, primarily due to the bad weather/rain we have recently experienced. On Wednesday 19th November, I was somewhat shocked to see up to 40 new shacks (and I mean 'new'!) now occupying the front yards of (only) the Niall Mellon-built houses. Apparently, the cost for now 'renting' a front yard is R400-00 per month, confirmed by two separate locals. I believe this is called "Shack-farming". The shacks are all using brand new 'Zinc', bright new metal, and the shacks are very, very close to the front doors (primarily) of the front doors of the Mellon houses. Less than 6 feet in 2 cases. Upon leaving I.Y., a truck was delivering and helping, on the side-walk, making up pre-assembled wooden panels that make up the internal structure of the shacks. The company truck belongs to a well-known Wendy-House company, and this seems, and I stress 'seems', to be a highly organized initiative.
So, far from reducing the numbers, there appears to be a 'densification' of the 'formalised' part of I.Y. 40 shacks x approx. 4 persons per shack = another 160 people. They start at the beginning of the now-resurfaced Nelson Mandela Drive, and then can be seen literally all over the township.”
The RAHB chairperson immediately responded with a letter to the Ward Councillor asking what the City of Cape Town is doing about the matter:
“The Minister of Housing, Lindiwe Sisulu, who coined the phrase “shack farming” stated that she was entirely against this development. My question is: what is the City of Cape Town doing about the matter and were we not attempting to make IY a formal settlement and apply LUPO regulations? Is this just a dream on a wish list while densification of IY is burgeoning out of control. The fire hazard in the hot summer months, with strong winds, will be exacerbated by this density and the City has been warned over and over again.”
Minutes after this e mail was sent 200 shacks were burnt to the ground in Imizamo Yethu. Since then there has been another fire - what will it take for the City to do something about the situation in IY that is spiralling out of control?
Below are images of the recent fire in Imizamo Yethu: