One month after coming to Cape Town, hoping for a better life, Mashudu Mukwevho is homeless – her shack was one of 50 destroyed in a fire in Site 5 last week.
The cause of the blaze on Thursday August 23 is under investigation, according to Fire and Rescue spokesman Theo Layne.
It took firefighters more than two hours to fight the blaze that left about 200 people without shelter.
“One adult male sustained a minor burn to the arm, but refused transportation to the hospital,” said Mr Layne.
Ms Mukwevho came from Venda seeking work in Cape Town. She lost all her belongings, apart from a few pieces of clothing she salvaged before the heat and smoke became too much to bear.
“I heard a lot of commotion, and when I went outside to go and look, I saw a lot of smoke and fire coming from the vlei side,” she said.
“It looked like the fire started from the shop that is not too far away.
“I ran back inside, but I couldn’t even think and managed to grab very little clothes before having to leave.”
Ms Mukwevho’s husband was at work at the time.
Later when he got home, the couple picked through the debris of their home to find materials they could salvage to rebuild.
“Our worry is where we will sleep,” she said.
Sandiswe Jevu was at work when she heard about the fire.
“I got a text from a friend telling me that there was a fire, and I panicked because I was not sure how big the fire was and if my place was affected.”
Later, she was devastated to find her home and all her belongings burnt to cinders.
“I have family in Langa that will be able to help me out, but I feel bad for my neighbours,” said Ms Jevu.
Greater Table View Action Forum chairperson Karen Davis said: “There is not enough formal housing that is going to solve this problem overnight.
“A few years ago, the City installed fire alarms in other informal settlements to alert people to a fire very quickly. Maybe this is something that can be introduced to Site 5.”