On October 9, 2014, a fire devastated roughly 1,200 homes in the informal Kya Sands settlement, northwest of Johannesburg. Although never confirmed, it’s believed that the fire began when a stove turned over while a woman was cooking. While the cause is irrelevant, the disaster left a community of over 2,000 people homeless, with no belongings other than what they were able to grab in the scramble. Women fled to safety, while men tossed water on the fire in vain.
With an Atlas Finance branch not too far away in Strijdom Park, the incident feels very close to heart. As a gesture, Atlas Finance and CEO Jack Halfon donated 10,000 Rand to Bryanston Methodist Church, who in turn provided accommodations for those whose homes were destroyed in the fire. In addition, the Kya Sands community intends to collaborate with a handful of government departments in order to address inevitable the socio economic backlash. The community has been promised a plot of land in Lion Park.