On the morning of the 11th of March, a fire swept through a large portion of the Imizamo Yethu township near Hout Bay. The fire destroyed 3500 homes - one of which belonged to one of our part-time employee’s, Nesta. Along with MAAK architecture studio, we are engaging with the issues at hand in order to best use our skills and energy to help Nesta and others like him.

If you are wanting to help but not sure how, we have built an interactive fund-raising installation that accepts snapscan payments. We are using the incoming funds to appropriately help those in needs. The installation is situated outside Rosetta Roastery in the Woodstock Exchange. Thank you in advance for your donation, as well as to Rosetta Roastery.

Our thoughts go to those affected by the fires and we are looking forward to collectively making a positive impact the best we know how.

To keep up to date with how our efforts are progressing follow updates on:



UPDATE 17 March 2017:

From: Crystal West
Subject: IY Update: URGENT Meeting tomorrow (Saturday) @10am
Date: 17 March 2017 at 11:32:39 GMT+2

Dear colleagues (kindly forward the email to the affected people in your organisation)

Things are moving fast in IY. The City, Province and National feel assured that they've sufficiently consulted the community in their proposed resettlement strategy (super block plan). On Wednesday the 3 spheres of govt presented themselves as a 'collective', working in partnership with the community. They'd apparently co-designed the layout plan during the day. It was interesting to note that after the completed layout plan was presented to the leaders/stakeholders meeting, the HoD of Province challenged the knee-jerk, short term proposed interventions. He asked why the adjacent sports field that was currently availed for the marquee tents (which by the way is not being used by the community for the purposes of sleeping) could not be used as an IDA whilst the IY settlement undergoes a thorough and permanent upgrading intervention. The City officials were furious and tensions between the 2 tiers of govt were clearly visible.

As per our agreement, Habitat (on behalf of the NGO's/Social Movements) shared our offer to partner alongside the City and the resident community in order to support them in a community led design process that will ensure that all members of the community are involved and take ownership. Our offer was noted by the City (!!!). We also sent a communication to this effect, to the City and later to HoD Thando Mguli (I copied you all in).

Essentially the City's plan is to have the site cleared by Saturday and for site marking to commence by Sunday. They will issue emergency fire kits once the sites are marked.

In the interim the leaders are reporting disturbing realities on the ground. Many residents have started to rebuild already. They've been asked to take their structures down in line with the City's plan. Certain individuals are inciting residents to ignore this and continue building (apparently due to their own personal agenda's). Thus, conflicting messaging is spreading and residents are becoming increasingly unsettled with tensions rising as they still do not know how many people will be accommodated in this new layout plan; and where the balance of the residents will be relocated to.

I've chatted with Moegsien earlier and we agreed that it is important that the intermediary organisations determine exactly what our role is now - since our offer to partner has not yet been responded to. We would need to ensure that we've taken sufficient actions to let the community know what was offered and if we are not requested to support them, then we should terminate our involvement publicly. The way in which things are being done at the moment poses huge risks for a disastrous outcome.

Having spoken to some of the leaders it was agreed that the NGO partners meet with the community leaders tomorrow, Saturday, 18th March @ 10am at the Fire Station in Hout Bay (just after the Police Station at IY).

Please let me know who of you will be present at this meeting. It is imperative that as many of the NGO's are there tomorrow as the City officials will also be at the 10am meeting.


Crystal West
Head of Advocacy, Habitat for Humanity South Africa
4th floor Letterstedt House, Newlands on Main, Cnr Main & Campground Roads, Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
office: +27 21 657 5640 ext. 119 • cell: +27 82 327 4271 • fax: +27 21 671 1315 •

UPDATE 20th MARCH 2017

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