Left sinking in despair

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Needed rain creates floods for residents

FLOODED AGAIN: A disheartened Piet Commins tries to get rid of water in his flooded Breidbach home recently Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

BREIDBACH and Sweetwaters families living in Buffalo City Metro’s Ward 44, say inadequate drainage and stormwater systems in their areas have made their lives “hell” for the past 14 years.

While most people are hoping for rain, their families pray for the opposite.

This is the sad story of four families who shared their stories with the Go! & Express last week.

According to Breidbach resident Raymond Commins, the problem dates back to 2003 when large volumes of water came storming down a channel in front of their homes, only to be met by an obstruction due to a wall of a neighbour’s extended home.

The water flooded into surrounding houses, resulting in extensive damage.

At the time, those affected were offered blankets, clothing and accommodation at the community hall, courtesy of the Red Cross Society and BCM Disaster Management Services.

“We were rescued from our homes and the affected areas were cordoned off and inspected by engineers,” Commins said.

“This happened yet again the following year, and every year afterwards – and two weeks ago – but little has been done to change the situation.”

After the latest incident, he contacted ward councillor Sixolisiwe Ntsasela and previous ward committee member, Desmond Coetzee.

“We were disappointed when we only saw that Coetzee attended. The councillor failed to pitch,” Commins said.

Nstasela said she was at the site when the flooding occurred and that she felt great sympathy for those affected. She promised to follow-up on the matter.

Coetzee mentioned that previous ward councillor Leon Mentoor and a team of BCM engineers visited the area with Commins, and a contractor was appointed to upgrade the drainage systems.

“The contractor upgraded the stormwater and drainage system and was working for a period of more than six months,” Coetzee said. “I would like to advise the councillor to make this a priority in assisting the family.”

Meanwhile, Sweetwaters neighbours Theda Genade and Hester Hendricks said their nightmare started when their new houses were built in 2014.

“The houses are all built on steep land … with no stormwater or drainage systems in place,” Genade explained.

“Whenever it rained, water would flow in huge volumes into our yards and homes, which prompted us to dig trenches, irrespective of the time of the day or night.”

She added that the situation was reported to Mentoor (their previous ward councillor) on many occasions, without any success.

“Last year, on February 18 was when I contacted Coetzee, who immediately intervened, which saw a BCM vehicle with officials arriving at my home and then shortly left without saying a word until today.”

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