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E-mail: [email protected] Tuesday 3 May 2011 Tel: 021 713 9440 Fax: 021 713 9481
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Blaze devastates MasiphumeleleDALEEN FOUCH
A MASSIVE fire sweptthrough Masiphumelele inthe early hours of yesterdaymorning, destroying over 1 500shacks and 15 brick houses andclaiming the life of an unidenti-fied man.
It left another man seriously in-jured, and two firemen sufferedburn wounds and were transportedto Vincent Palotti Hospital.
The fire displaced about 5 000people.
The blaze started at midnight onSunday in the wetlands informalsettlement, and initially moved intothe reeds of the wetlands, but whenthe wind direction changed the fireburned its way into the formal are-as of Masiphumelele.
The cause of the fire has not yetbeen determined.
Wilfred Solomons-Johannes,head of the City of Cape Towns Dis-aster Risk Management, says morethan 20 fire engines attended thescene. It took fire fighters fivehours to get the fire under control.
Solomons-Johannes says thiswas the biggest fire in Masiphume-lele to date. He says the wetlands in-formal area cannot be reached bycar, and densely-built shacks alsomade fire fighting efforts diffi-cult.
Pastor Mzuvukile Nikelo, aMasiphumelele community leader,says fire fighters had to wait for thefire to burn a way open before theycould reach the affected area.
Solomons-Johannes says a groupof men also disrupted fire fightingefforts and threw rocks at fire en-
gines before police brought the situ-ation under control.
Nikelo says the group of men hadbeen drinking during the night at alocal shebeen and accused fire figh-ters of not acting promptly enough.
It was a group of misbehaving,drunken men.
Nikelo adds that fire fighters ac-ted very promptly and arrived atthe scene within minutes of the firstcall.
Siabonga Ngingana, a securityguard for Lake Security, was seri-ously injured in the fire, but is cur-rently in a stable condition in Ty-gerberg Hospital.
Leon Halliday, owner of Lake Se-curity, says Ngingana escapedthrough the wetlands, via a recent-ly-cleared fire break at the backwall of Lake Michelle. He says if thefirebreak had not been cleared, Ng-
ingana would not have had an es-cape route and would have died inthe fire. Halliday praised Emergen-cy Medical Treatment (EMT), whoattended the scene and treated Ng-ingana.
Robert de Wet, spokesperson forEMT, says members of EMT treatedNgingana for severe burns to hishands, feet and face. Halliday saysNginganas lungs were also burntin the heat of the fire, and he is ona ventilator.
Solomons-Johannes says City in-frastructure in the affected area, in-cluding water pipes and newly-built electricity lines, were com-pletely destroyed.
Area councillor, Felici-ty Purchase, says twowarm meals were provid-ed on Monday in theMasiphumelele hall to
people affectedby the fire. Theywillalso be fed today (Tuesday). TheMasiphumelele hall will be madeavailable to be used as a shelter.Purchase says the City will registerall people who were affected by thefire and hand out disaster kits tohelp them build a simple struc-ture.
Mayor Dan Plato and Patricia deLille, the MEC for Social Develop-ment in the Western Cape, visitedthe devastated area yesterday,while local councillors andMemberof the Provincial Parliament, MarkWiley, assisted with relief effortsthroughout the day.. Read more on Page 3.
DEVASTATION: Three girls walk through the burnt rubble that remained after a fire wreaked havoc in Masiphumelele yesterday. An estimated 5 000 people were displaced after the fire destroyed1 500 shacks and 15 houses. The fire claimed the life of one man. Photo: EMT/Chad Chapman
Page 2 Peoples Post False Bay NEWS Tuesday 3 May 2011
Lotus River family live in hopeLIAM MOSES
THE family of James Fisher, aLotus River teen who is be-lieved to have drowned off KalkBay last week, held an emotionalvigil at the Kalk Bay harbouryesterday.
Fisher (14) hasbeen missing sincelast week, when hefell off the harbourwall during a fish-ing expedition anddisappeared intothe ocean.
Desiree Wil-liams, Fishersgrandmother, saidthe family werehosting the vigil inhopes that it wouldsomehow lead toher grandson be-ing found.
We are here to-day because I wantto show him thatwe are here forhim and then may-be he will comeback, said Wil-liams.
Were going tocall his name andthrow flowers onto the water toshow him that we are there for him,to show him that we arent going toabandon him.
Fisher had been fishing with twofriends at the harbour at about 05:00on Wednesday 27 April when he felloff the harbour wall and disap-peared into the ocean.
Fisher and his friends, MoegamatAdams and Chandre Hendricks
were driven to the harbour at 04:00that day by Adams father, Riede-waan.
Darren Zimmerman, the Nation-al Sea Rescue Institutes SimonsTown station commander, saidFisher fell off the breakwater whilecasting his line into the sea.
The teenagerthen swam into theharbour to upagainst the har-bour wall, but wasunable to climb upthe steep and highharbour wall.
While holdingonto the fendertyres he passed hisfriend his fishingrod, which he hadhung onto, andthen he informedhis friends that hewould swim outthrough the har-bour entrance tothe beach.
Zimmerman add-ed that Fishersfriends saw him dis-appear below thewaves while tryingto swim to safety.
The last sightthat the friends had
of him was in the harbour en-trance, said Zimmerman.
It appears that the teenager mayhave grown tired and been sweptout to sea by currents and may havesuccumbed to hypothermia.
The search for Fisher is currentlybeing conducted by the SAPS.
According to Brigadier BillyJones, SAPS provincial spokesper-son, the focus of the search could
soon move away from diving and onto patrols along the coast.
The police will continue search-ing for him, but they wont be div-ing any more, says Jones.
Theyll be searching along thebeach. That will continue until theymake a breakthrough. But that willstill take some time.
Jones could not say exactly atwhat point the SAPS would stopdiving.
Fisher had been living with hisgrandmother for the past nineyears, as his mother and father diednine and eight years ago respective-ly, and it was Williams who boughthim the fishing rod he was using onthe day.
Williams said she felt hopefulthat her grandson would be foundalive, as her daughter had dreamtthat he would be.
I am very, very hopeful that hewill be found alive, said Williams.
My daughter had a dream thathe would be found if we just comehere and call his name.
Williams added that the grief oflosing her grandson was at its worstwhen she was alone.
I feel at ease until Im alone then its gets to me, because we havephotos of him in the house, largephotos.
Theres one were he is laughingand the other is where is near thewater. He loved the ocean verymuch and he loved fishing verymuch, Williams says.
HOPEFUL: Desiree Williams (left) and CrystalMoses, the grandmotherand aunt of James Fisher,wait at the Kalk Bay harbour. Fisher has beenmissing since Wednesday27 April when he fell offthe Kalk Bay harbour wallinto the ocean.Photo: LiamMoses
MISSING: A younger JamesFisher posingwith a snake. Hehas been missing since April27. Photo: Nasief Manie
BY AIR AND SEA: An NSRI boat and helicopter comb the sea around KalkBay in the hope of finding Fisher. Photo: Chad Chapman
Le Diamante development still going slowlyDALEEN FOUCHE
WHILE work on the Le Diamantebuilding in Muizenberg seems tohave slowed down, its developers remainconfident the project can be completedwithin months of the City of Cape Townapproving its plans.
Rika Lourens, director of DemindexProperties and developer of Le Diamante,is confident that once the City approvesthe sketch plans for the development, itwill take a mere three months to completethis ambitious project.
Andrew Price, quantity surveyor forthe project, says although they are stillworkingon thebuilding,work is being car-ried out by a team of skeleton staff, particu-larly on older parts of the building and theexterior. This will be the case until thesketch plans are approved.
The once dilapidated slum on Main Roadis to be transformed into an up-markethousing development with 35 apartments,a gym, an outside and inside pool and aspa. It will be a lifestyle building, saysLourens. Peoples Post met with Price onsite. He says all the major logistic hurdlesof the development have been resolved.
Previously, Peoples Post reported onproblems faced by the developers, includ-ing the troublesome issue regardingparking (Le Diamante at a standstill,Peoples Post, 19 October 2010).
However, Price says that thi