Imbawula can be dangerous

Residents have been warned that imbawula could be dangerous. Photo: Lulekwa Mbadamane.
Residents have been warned that imbawula could be dangerous. Photo: Lulekwa Mbadamane.

WITH the recent rainfall and cold weather hitting Cape Town, people in squatter camps have now turned to imbawula (brazier) to warm their homes.

This is because they do not have electricity to connect electrical heaters.

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, Jean-Pierre Smith, has warned people about the dangers that come with the winter season.

“I implore residents to always keep their family’s safety top of mind. Also, rope in the entire household to ensure that all open flames or devices that could pose a fire risk are used safely or switched off when not in use. Make sure that everyone, including children, know what to do in the event of an emergency,” said Smith.

Residents of Covid-19 squatter camp in Cape Town told Daily Sun that they were forced to use imbawula because they don’t have electricity.

“We have no option and all we want is to warm our homes. We always try to ensure that we don’t burn our shacks. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, we put the imbawula outside until the smoke is gone and then put it back inside when it is charcoal only,” said a resident, Banele Dakeni (45).

Jermaine Carelse, the spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Services, said imbawula must be used outside.

Imbawula, also known as galley, should only be used outdoors and far away from any flammable substances. In addition, it is advised to have either a bucket of sand or water ready in the event that it falls over,” said Carelse.

He said besides the imbawula being flammable, it could pose danger to residents because of carbon monoxide.

“It cannot be used in either a closed formal or informal dwelling due to the fire using up all the oxygen and giving off carbon monoxide. From a fire safety perspective, the use of imbawula is extremely dangerous and poses a risk,” Carelse added.

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