In the early hours of the morning on 1 October 2017, four shacks burnt down in the Slovo Park Informal Settlement in Nancefield, Johannesburg. The accident left a number of people severely injured and a 21-year-old man dead. Survivors of the fire lost their homes and all their belongings, including passports and identification documentations. The exact cause of the fire is unknown. The Slovo Park Community Development Forum (SPCDF) suspect the accident was related to either the use of candles, a paraffin stove or the self-connections of electricity from shacks to factories in the neighbouring Nancefield industrial area.

This is not the first fire-related accident in Slovo Park. From 2010-2015 six adults between the age of 40-60 years old were electrocuted to death. In 2017, one adult and a 4-year-old child were electrocuted to death, in addition to four children under the age of 10 injured by the electric wires exposed throughout the settlement. Without state-provided electricity in the settlement, residents have little choice but to resort to self-connections.

The SPCDF have engaged government at all levels around the provision of electricity and other services for over two decades culminating in a judgment where the Johannesburg High Court ordered the City to apply to the Gauteng Province for a grant to upgrade Slovo Park in terms of the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme.

  • Read full press statement here.
  • Read the ground-breaking judgment in Melani and Others v City of Johannesburg here
  • Read more about the struggles of the Slovo Park community here