Monday, 19 April 2021 21:12

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

A Cabinet minister’s home in Newlands, Cape Town, was "completely destroyed" on Sunday by the fires that have razed Table Mountain and parts of the University of Cape Town (UCT).

This was revealed by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, on Monday. The property belongs to De Lille’s department.

"Thankfully, no one was hurt and no one was in the property at the time," De Lille said in a statement.

She also revealed that the fire came close to Deputy President David Mabuza’s Groote Schuur Estate residence on Sunday but it was quelled in time.

"There was no damage to this property," she said.

Family members of another Cabinet minister and two deputy ministers were also evacuated on Monday from Walmer Estate, "as there was an immediate threat on Monday morning as the fire moved over Philip Kgosana Drive".

"SAPS [South African Police Service] has advised these families not to return to the houses due to heavy smoke and strong winds in the area as it is not yet completely safe," De Lille said.

"DPWI [Department of Public Works and Infrastructure] continues to monitor the situation closely and are working with the local Saps to ensure that we do all we can to support the efforts of the firefighters and Saps to protect lives and property.

"We also extend our thanks to the various organisations and Capetonians who have once again been quick to open their hearts to support the firefighters in this massive task as well as offer all kinds of help to students and families who have had to evacuate their homes for their safety."

Meanwhile the DA has called for an independent investigation into the Table Mountain fire as more City Bowl residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, with some concerned about their pets.

The vegetation fire, believed to have been started by a vagrant, first moved up towards Rhodes Memorial and then towards the UCT upper campus on Sunday morning.

More people from Walmer Estate, near Zonnebloem, in the City Bowl have been ask to leave their homes. Some Walmer Estate residents could be seen trying to stop the fire from reaching their homes.

Active firefighting is concentrated on Vredehoek, Philip Kgosana Drive and UCT, with more than 150 firefighters and 32 firefighting appliances at work to try to control the blaze.