Two Killed, Thousands Left Homeless in Cape Town Fires

Published November 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Fires in two Cape Town townships killed two brothers, injured several people and razed 1,300 shanty homes, South African police said Monday. 

Police Superintendent Nina Kirsten said Zozo and Masimele Tonqa died trapped inside their shack in Guguletu township when it caught fire in the early hours of the morning. 

Theirs was the only dwelling in Guguletu to burn down, but in Langa, some four kilometers (2.5 miles) away, a fire fanned by a strong southwesterly wind on Sunday swept out of control through the Joe Slovo informal settlement. 

There were no fatalities but people were treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns and electricity lines were damaged, causing power failures much further afield. 

The Cape Times reported that thousands of homeless people trooped to the offices of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, some clutching possessions they had managed to save from the blaze. 

Others spent the night huddled outside their razed homes. 

Fire services said they had not established the cause of either blaze, but such incidents are frequent in South Africa's many informal settlements where most residents use candles, open fires and paraffin lamps for want of electricity. 

Thumekani Mnwana, a young resident of Joe Slovo who lost her shack, said she believed the blaze started with a cooking fire outside one of the homes -- CAPE TOWN (AFP)  





© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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