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Letters/Discussion Forums

Squatter camp fires: Suggestions of pre-emptive action ignored



Ernest Waner, Brakpan

What I find more alarming as an outsider from Brakpan in Gauteng – but a caring individual – is the utter despair and hopelessness of the people living in the squatter camps when a fire starts and around 1 000 shacks are burnt down, as happened in Umizamo Yethu in Hout Bay on Saturday, March 11, resulting in people dying and some 15 000 being displaced.

Letters and replies I received from the Premier of the Western Cape, the Mayor of Cape Town and Chief Fire Officer Ian Schnetler, dated January 18, 2016 belittled my concern and ideas I suggested to deal with fires when they start and my criticism of using conventional means with 20 to 30 fire engines, which resulted in whole camps being wiped out.

Schnetler advised me that there are 200 informal settlements in Cape Town and he is doing his best. 

Those Jews in Cape Town who are able to make a difference in the lives of unfortunate people, should act swiftly; they are there in person, whereas I as an outsider failed. They can succeed by hammering Schnetler and others to act before the fire starts and not after the damage has been done.



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