South Africa

KZN flood victims still crying for help nearly a year after disaster

KZN Floods families

Nearly a year after the floods which claimed the lives of more than 400 people in KwaZulu-Natal, families who lost their houses in Inanda say they have never received any assistance from the government.

Community leader Ngiphile Luthuli said she registered 46 flood victims in villages in Inanda and none of them have received help from eThekwini municipality or from government. But eThekwini municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela denies this.

KZN flood victims

GroundUp visited Inanda’s ward 44 a week ago – two villages, Emagelekedeni and Emantsheni Amhlophe, and a township, Emaplasini.

Luthuli said only people living in the township had been helped.

She showed GroundUp five houses in the villages destroyed by floods in April 2022 and said some owners had gone to rent places elsewhere and others were living with relatives.

Nokwanda Gumede is one of the flood victims.

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The floods destroyed a two-bedroomed house she shared with her husband and three children. The family is now renting a room in the township for R1 500 a month. Gumede is unemployed and her husband does piece jobs.

Luthuli said people in the townships had been moved to community halls and then to other accommodation.

“People in villages only matter when it’s time to vote. We didn’t receive anything,” said Gumede.

“After I saw on television that people from townships are given shelter, I went to eThekwini municipality to tell them that I also lost a house. The officials came here but could not reach my house because they came on a rainy day.

“They asked me to take pictures and send them, which I did, but nothing happened. It’s been eight months now waiting,” she said.

No money

At Emantsheni Amhlophe, Nelson Makhathini said he had managed to only fix one room in his three-bedroomed house destroyed by floods last year. He is living alone in the room in the house and renting a flat bedroom for his children.

Makhathini said when he visited the KwaZulu-Natal human settlements department, he was told that the government did not have money to assist. The eThekwini municipality promised to visit his house to check the damage but nothing had happened, he said.

GroundUp also found that two families at Emaplasini are still living in their old RDP houses that were ruined by floods.

Nokulunga Mbatha is still living in her ruined house.

She said she and two sisters and their children had been moved to a community hall in April following the floods, but had not been moved to flats when others who were in the hall were relocated.

ALSO READ: KZN floods: Displaced residents plead for government’s intervention

“On the day that people were moved from the community hall to flats we were in Pietermaritzburg for a funeral. We received a call that people were being moved and we rushed back,” she said.

“When we got there, the officials were still busy allocating people. Our belongings were still inside the community hall. We fetched them to stand with others but the ward councillor told us that there was no place for us, we must find another place to live.”

Ward councillor Zamani Khuzwayo said he had informed the municipality about the Mbatha family and another family who had also been left behind when people were allocated flats and rooms rented by the municipality.

KZN human settlements spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said the municipality through its disaster management team, not the department, was responsible for people displaced by floods.

ALSO READ: KZN still on high alert for floods

Written by Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik and Tsoanelo Sefoloko

This article was republished from GroundUp with permission. Read the original article here