Deur Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik en Tsoanelo Seforoko, GrounUp
Almost a year after floods claimed the lives of more than 400 people in KwaZulu-Natal, families who lost their homes in Inanda say they have never received any help from the government. Inanda is an informal settlement outside Durban.
In addition, almost 50 of these residents are still without proper housing, while the local municipality boasts that everyone has been helped.
At the time, Ngiphile Luthuli, a community leader, registered 46 flood victims in Inanda for help through the eThewini municipality. However, none of them received help from government officials.
However, the municipality denies these allegations.
According to Luthuli, only those living in the township of Emaplasini were helped. Some residents of Inanda whose houses were destroyed have rented a house elsewhere or are now living with family members. However, the interim stay is not sustainable.
Nokwanda Gumede is one of the victims who says the local government has not done anything to help her after the flood waters swept away her home. The floods destroyed the two-bedroom house she shared with her husband and three children. The family now rents a room in the township for R1 500 per month. Gumede is currently unemployed and her husband gets occasional part-time work.
Gumede says people living in the townships were moved to community halls at the time and then found other accommodation.
“We haven’t received anything yet.
“People in the surrounding villages only matter when it’s time to vote,” she says.
The house where Gumede and her family lived was completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt from the ground up.
“After I saw on TV that people from the townships were receiving houses, I went to the eThekwini local municipality to tell them that I had also lost my house. The officials came to Inanda, but they could not reach my ruined house. They asked me to take pictures and send them, but nothing came of it. It was already eight months ago,” she says.
“In other areas, we saw people being given food parcels. Some got blankets, but we didn’t receive anything.”
Gumede says she and her family are still badly traumatized by the day their house almost completely caved in under them.
“The heavy rain started that evening and the back of the house was swept away while we were still inside. We all stood in a corner while my husband tried to protect us. The children were crying and we could hear people from outside trying to help us,” she says.
“It was a very bad experience and I still have nightmares about it. None of us received counselling, even those who saw their loved ones swept away during the floods.”
Nelson Makhathini, a resident of a nearby settlement, Emansheni Amhlophe, says he did manage to fix one room of his three-bedroom house – which was destroyed by the floods -. While he sleeps in this room, he rents a bedroom elsewhere for his children.
“When it rains, I don’t close my door so I can escape easily if there is flooding,” he says.
At the time, Makhatini called the Department of Human Settlements in KwaZulu-Natal for help, but was told the government had no money to help. The eThekwini Municipality promised to visit his home to check the damage, but nothing came of it.
Mbulelo Baloyi, spokesperson for the department, says the municipality, through its disaster management team, not the department, is responsible for people affected by the floods.
Msawakhe Mayisela, spokesperson for the department, for his part said the municipality has made shelters available for all those affected by the flooding. Hot meals were provided and all affected families were moved from the shelters in community halls to various houses.
“The evidence is there for all to see,” he added.
- This report was originally posted on GroundUp and is used here with permission.
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