Community pulls together to help fire victims

Patricia July with the some of the new shacks

The Constantia valley community has pulled together to help victims of a fire in Westlake Village.

On Saturday July 31, Patricia and Cameron July and their 6-year-old grandchild returned home after visiting friends to find their house shrouded in smoke and nine shacks on the property gutted by fire.

No one was injured but several people were left homeless.

Ms July was one of the first people to move into the RDP village in 1999.

The following morning, Tracy Stallard, of Xchange Connexion, a Tokai-based social-enterprise company, started coordinating efforts to help the fire victims.

Within one week the damaged shacks and their contents had been taken to the landfill in Muizenberg – to ensure no illegal dumping in Westlake – and six new shacks stood in their place.

Tokai Lions president Mark Rossouw said they had contributed clothing and food.

Amazing Grace, an NPO upliftment centre in Westlake, organised food, shelter, clothing and essentials for the victims.

Ward 72 councillor Penny East said she was proud of the way the community had pulled together to help the fire victims. “The project came together very quickly, was smoothly run with good corporate governance practices, and the beneficiaries were able to move into their new structures within a week of the fire,” said Ms East.

Ms Stallard said those involved in the relief efforts had set up a formal partnership, the W71CT Disaster Relief Response. Email partnerships@xchangeconnexion.com to find out more.

Patricia July, who has lived in Restio Crescent since 1999, points to fire damaged fascia boards on the eaves of her roof.