The Gauteng government will intervene to help the more than 900 people displaced by a fire that destroyed more than 200 shacks in the Pomona informal settlement in Kempton Park, northeast of Johannesburg, on Monday night.
“Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and CoGTA, Lebogang Maile, was profoundly touched by the impact of [Monday] night’s fire blaze (sic) at Pomona Informal Settlement, outside Ekurhuleni, which left more than 300 households without shelter,” department spokesperson Castro Ngobese said in a statement.
“Maile has made a firm commitment that the Gauteng government will provide support to the affected families with immediate effect, working closely with Ekurhuleni municipality and other relevant humanitarian relief bodies. The cause of the fire remains unknown, with investigations still ongoing,” Ngobese said.
“We are devastated by the effect of this fire, which has left a sizeable number of families without a roof over their head. We commit to providing all the necessary support to the affected families, including temporary accommodation and food,” said Maile.
Maile had instructed the Provincial Disaster Management Centre to dispatch its senior team to work closely with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality on all relief efforts.
Gift of the Givers, the Red Cross and the Gauteng Department of Social Development were working together with Cogta officials to offer humanitarian support to the affected families.
Ngobese said Maile had welcomed the assistance provided by civil society bodies to the affected families.
“The intervention by these civil society bodies gives meaningful expression to President [Cyril] Ramaphosa’s call for all South Africans to lend a hand,” said Maile.
Maile applauded Ekurhuleni Disaster Management and the municipality’s firefighters for responding swiftly to avoid more shacks being burnt down.
“The Gauteng Government remains committed to improving the conditions of communities living in informal settlements across the province, through its informal settlement revitalisation programme, working in tandem with relevant municipalities to fast-track the proclamation of informal settlements into townships, so that development can be brought closer to the people in a manner that improves living conditions,” Ngobese said.