A Word of Thanks and Services Update

On Tuesday 14 March, four days after the searing flames of a massive fire engulfed one third of Imizamo Yethu, the victims of one of the worst fires Hout Bay has ever experienced, lined up along the periphery of the Hout Bay sports field. They stood waiting, in the hopes of receiving some of the clothing, shoes, bedding, underwear, food and other items that people and organisations had donated, to help with their reintroduction to life after the fire took everything they owned.

The energy on the field that day was electric. Volunteers could be seen all over the sports field and surrounding areas, handing out water and sandwiches to people waiting patiently in line. They were also unpacking boxes of clothes and other items that had just been delivered by concerned citizens, who wanted to help. The volunteers were mostly tending to the needs of everyone around them to the best of their abilities.

This fire has left the community of Hout Bay in shock. The feeling of disbelief was still heavy in the air for all the victims and volunteers but all they could do was push forward and create some sense of security and refuge for the thousands of people affected by the fire. Although the situation was a tragic one what predominantly came out of it was a Hout Bay that cares. A Hout Bay that communicates and expresses concern for its community members and takes action.

The day was long with people standing in line waiting for their turn to pick out some clothes, toiletries and bedding for themselves and their affected family members. As the hours went by the field was visited by media representatives who were looking to document the current events and the events leading up to it. Many representatives from various businesses stopped by the filed to oversee the delivery of items their companies had graciously donated to fire victims. Various Non-Profit Organisations could be seen attending to people and helping where they could as well.

As the day began to wind down and the line that seemed to never end began to shrink, a sense of relief began to settle over the camp. Although the impact of the fire was still far from being a thing of the past for its victims, a small step forward had been made by the people of Hout Bay and all over South Africa and the world, who took the time to take note of a community in need, and take action.

Statement from Cllr Quintas March 17th:

Status report as of Friday morning:

We are continuing to encourage people to move down with their belongings to the Sports Field and we will assist in moving them and their possessions.

We are also in the process of acquiring portable showers, temporary water outlets and additional toilets to what was initially provided so as to make the space more habitable and hygienic.

We have begun that process as we now have the support of leadership in encouraging people to utilize the provided shelters.

Demarcating of the tents is also underway according to age, gender etc.

Law Enforcemt will be present with the affected community in “temporary tent city” during this period and the sports field hub will be used as a central space for feeding and relief work

The City has also established a Mass Care Centre on the sportsfield and will provide the required health services as needed.

The land surveying team will be onsite to begin the process of the initial grid plan for the proposed superblocking.

Efficient, Caring and Safe City in motion.

Statement from Cllr Quintas March 16th:

Between 2:00 and 4:30pm I Co-Chaired a meeting between the leadership of IY, the City and National Government as well as community members representing different groups.

The meeting saw us have further commitment of cooperation from leadership to encourage affected residents to not rebuild and to temporarily utilize the relief shelters provided by the City.

The site clearance is going according to schedule and should be cleared by the weekend. The City has also further committed to assist residents who were able to salvage belongings to transport them along with their possessions to the shelters.

The challenge being faced currently is that a splinter group is encouraging people to rebuild and this is being addressed.

The majority appear committed to the City’s proposed superblocking process which will hopefully be laid out in principle (initial demarcation) over the early period of next week, and which will allow us to move people back onsite with starter kits and rebuild within the grid (leaving spaces for pedestrian paths and a compact surface road) on an ongoing basis going forward.

The human need is dire and a solution based on long term sustainability and safety needs to be enacted whilst being cognizant of the the care needed in addressing people’s most basic need: shelter and stability.

My day started with a public meeting from 9am to 10am with the Western Cape Minister for Health, Dr French Mbombo at Izikilabomi Hall where the Minister and her Directorate along with donor partner Cipla, committed to the urgent installation of a mobile clinic to assist in rolling out primary healthcare during this challenging time.

From 10am to 11:30am, as Democratic Alliance Chairman I was privileged to have the support of my MPP Mireille Wenger, and Cllr’s Dave Bryant, Brandon Golding, Zimkhitha Sulelo, Shayne Ramsay and Gillion Bosman along with DA members of the Good Hope; and drop off several loaded vehicles worth of donated relief items at Ambleside School where we then assisted (out of political dress) to sort what we brought in.

From 12 to 1:30 I had the brief opportunity to do some administrative work with my assistant Michelle Sang Parmentier who is really helping me carry the load at the moment and deal with many other issues and items affecting the Ward.

After the community and government meeting, I headed into town to Chair the Good Hope Constituency meeting at 6pm where we had the DA’s Plan for Universal Health Coverage by Guest Speaker, Dr Wilmot James explained to us with an opportunity for Q&A