By Cllr Retief Odendaal, DA Caucus Leader: Nelson Mandela Bay:
It is astounding and illogical that the ANC in council has rejected a DA motion that proposes an “Informal Settlements Fire Unit be established and capacitated,” in light of the recent shack fire death of Mr. Randall Oosthuizen. (See motion here)
The ANC in council has voted for more shack fires, rather than for a solution to this devastating problem.
The Oosthuizen Family, residing in Ward 11, had been without a home for months after their backyard shack burnt to the ground. DA Ward Councillor Isaac Adams intervened and coordinated the erection of a temporary shelter after the fire. (See picture here)
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro townships are so sadly prone to out of control shack fires, which motivates the DA to push for real and tangible solutions in the NMB council. The council needs to prevent further death and destruction, which is why the DA motion should have been considered and not shut down by the ANC.
Shack fires can be prevented. The DA would capacitate the Safety and Security Directorate to create a shack fire unit focused on fire prevention, fire education and fire extinguishing. The DA would use Expanded Public Works Program opportunities to create community fire-fighter jobs in the communities where they can directly extinguish fires as they flare up.
Vulnerable residents in Nelson Mandela Bay’s informal areas will be assisted to prevent shack fires with innovations to build safer houses, such as the use of fire retarded paint and community fire detectors.
In this matter the ANC has chosen politics over the lives of residents. A dedicated Informal Settlements Fire Unit is the only solution to a massive issue and this has been ignored by a cruel ANC.
The DA is committed to opportunity for all South Africans, where freedom from shack fires is a priority for government.