Khayelitsha fire

(Facebook / Mdzananda Animal Clinic)

Khayelitsha fire: Local shelters call for help in re-homing animals

The Khayelitsha fire has displaced hundreds of animals across the township, as Flexi’s controversial story reflects the need for honesty and communication.

Khayelitsha fire

(Facebook / Mdzananda Animal Clinic)

Note: We have updated this article about the Khayelitsha fire, originally published on 31 October, to include more feedback from Mdzananda.

The Khayelitsha Fire – which ripped Town 2 apart almost two weeks ago – destroyed hundreds of shacks and displaced thousands of residents. This wasn’t just a human tragedy, though: Scores of animals and pets have also had their lives severely affected by the blaze.

Local government, in the form of the Democratic Alliance (DA), has provided assistance to the embattled residents of Town 2, mainly in the form of ‘shack kits’ and meals. The City’s JP Smith confirmed that building kits included sheets of corrugated metal and plastic, wooden posts, nails, a window, a door and a frame for the door.

How the Khayelitsha fire has affected animals

As the rebuilding begins, both humans and animals alike have to begin a life unfamiliar to them. We spoke to the SA.MAST Animal Clinic, who told us they have had to take in more than 50 animals since the inferno engulfed the region – and more are coming in every day.

For an organisation that is solely reliant on public donations, the circumstances have made “a tough job even tougher”, according to SA.MAST Founder and Managing Director, Tamsin Nel. But the fundraisers have another significant challenge on their hands, and it’s all to do with this little guy.

(Facebook / Mdzananda Animal Clinic)

SA.MAST and Mdzananda clash

Flexi was one of the dogs caught up in the Khayelitsha fire. He was, allegedly, first attended to by Mdzananda Animal Clinic on Wednesday 25 October. They claim to have treated the animal for his wounds and the burns he had suffered, before releasing him the following day.

However, SA.MAST say they were alerted to his condition by the animal’s guardian last Friday, and describe him as being in “a lot of pain” and “visibly shaking” when they first saw him.

The guardian also alleges that Mdzananda charged R150 on the spot to treat the dog, which goes against their claims that they tried to rehabilitate Flexi free of charge. The group were even chastised for still accepting donations for the unlucky pup, despite him being discharged from their care.


Mdzananda claim that they were accepting donations, as Flexi’s treatment totalled R350 when in their care. They also deny charging the R150 fee. But the whole saga has left a very bitter taste for Nel, after the two shelters were in open dispute on social media. However, she says that its time to take these concerns further:

“We will take our concerns to The Veterinary Council of South Africa and the Cape Animal Welfare Forum. We feel we’ve said everything that needs to be said. Taking emotion out of it, the facts speak for themselves. Instead of talking on social media, we will let those bodies decide what happens.”

“It has to be said that Flexi is in the care of SA.MAST, and SA.MAST only. He’s doing really well, and we were able to get him eating after just two days. He suffered extensive burns to his face, and when an animal is traumatised like that, it doesn’t want to eat.”

Mdzananda issue right of reply

There are two sides to every story, though. Mdzananda has clarified how exactly they treated Flexi, detailing the course of medication and surgical procedures that were carried out. Marcelle du Plessis is their fundraising & communications manager, who shared an explanation with us:

“As soon as the dog was presented to us we appealed for donations from the public to assist with his treatment as we are an NPO.”

“The dog was admitted and treated for the wounds. The wounds were shaved and cleaned. A course of antibiotics (Synulox Penicillin) was administered and he received pain medication (Mobic and Morphine).”

“At the same time the dog was sterilized. The dog was discharged on the 26th of October. It was given 250mg Betamox to be taken twice a day for ten days, Rymadil for 7 days and coconut oil to put on the wound daily.”

Du Plessis made it very clear why the team were satisfied to let Flexi leave their care, and praised the work of the long-serving veterinary staff on their books:

“Our veterinarians are 100% confident that the dog was fit to release. The burn wounds were mild and was already in the healing stages as it was starting to scab over. It would not be necessary for a patient to be in the hospital under 24h observation for wounds that can be treated at home.”

“Our vets discharged the dog with medication (as mentioned in my initial email) as well as coconut oil to apply on the wound daily.”

How you can help animal victims of the Khayelitsha fire

SA.MAST have already had a glut of adoption applications (for surrendered animals) as potential new parents aim to take their animals into foster care. However, with dozens of new additions to the shelter, the responsibility on their shoulders still remains enormous.

SA.MAST currently has numerous patients receiving, free of charge, round the clock medical care at their clinic and has so far rescued over 50 animals affected by the Khayelitsha fire. For more information, or to lend your support, please go to or email them at