Minister Sisulu visits fire-ravaged Taiwan informal settlement and blasts SAHRC


By: Staff Reporter

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister today (Monday 4 ) paid a visit to Taiwan informal settlement in Khayelitsha outside Cape Town after the area was gutted by a massive fire on Sunday night.

The blaze, comes two weeks after more than 1000 structurers in another informal settlement in the area, Masiphumelele were destroyed by fire, leaving thousands of residents without shelter. Sisulu, who was accompanied by City of Cape Town officials including Malusi Booi, member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for Human Settlements said with regards to Masiphumelele, the Western Cape Provincial Government had received funds from the national Department of Human Settlements and work in the area would begin as soon as the provincial government had issued a letter of availability of funds.

Minister Sisulu said she was in consultation with the Western Cape Provincial Government to persuade the province to declare Taiwan and Masiphumelele a disaster area in order to fast-track rebuilding of the two areas.

“This will also assist us to make money available on an urgent basis,” Minister Sisulu said.

“We have engaged the community leadership in Taiwan and following these engagements, we realised that the problem is far bigger that we thought,” said Minister Sisulu.

The Minister said she had to find a way of engaging the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) which, she said was encouraging people in the area to settle wherever they found unoccupied land.

“They (SAHRC) have even taken us to court to achieve their disastrous goal. I was in Taiwan today and I was shocked by the conditions under which our people there live.”

“Basic principle of building allows for fire break. However, this is not the case in Taiwan where there are no spaces between structures. The disaster that occurred there was clearly bound to happen,” said Minister Sisulu.

“Encouraging our people to live under these inhuman conditions is a reckless, irresponsible act that endangers the lives of black people. This anarchy should never be tolerated,” said Minister Sisulu.

She added that a further consultative meeting would take place tomorrow (Tuesday 5 January 2021) between officials from her department, City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Department to find ways to help affected residents on an urgent basis. Minister Sisulu concluded by thanking her Social Development counterpart Lindiwe Zulu who has made sure that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) officials are on the ground to assist with food relief.

Sisulu also thanked other non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the Gift of the Givers and Living Hope who have been assisting people affected by the disasters.