While farmers and drought-stricken municipalities welcomed much needed rain this week in the Eastern Cape, residents of an informal settlement in Hani Park in Mdantsane were counting their losses as water flooded their shacks overnight.
When the Daily Dispatch visited the informal settlement yesterday, residents were in a frenzy, salvaging furniture and the few belongings that had not been damaged by the heavy rain.
Water filled the shacks, damaging furniture and appliances in the process. Behind the shacks, water gathered in a large pool, forming a stream, and turning the entire settlement into a wetland.
Residents said when they called their ward councillor, Nomonde Moyikwa, and told her of their plight, she called them “cry babies”.
Ntombikayise Nolawo’s four-roomed shack was covered in water.
She stood knee-deep in water as her furniture and appliances floated around her.
“My kitchen cupboards are covered in water and my belongings are scattered all over.
“The bed and couches are all drenched,” she said.
She shares her shack with six other people.
Noluthando Magalela, who lives with her mentally challenged sister and her children, said when they woke up the shack resembled a dam.
“Everything was flooded. My TV, my cupboards, my fridge and couches were all damaged.
“Even now we can’t go in because it’s a mess inside.
“We don’t know where we’ll be sleeping tonight because of this rain, and it looks like it’s still going to continue.”
Moyikwa told the Dispatch she did not initially believe the situation was as bad as the residents described it to be, but what she saw “was terrible and tragic”.
“I met with community members [yesterday]. We will be trying to move them because their conditions are terrible.
“I have asked them to give me a list of their names so I can try to get help for them from disaster management,” she said.
The residents are beneficiaries of RDP houses that were built in Hani Park, but they are still in shacks while the houses are being built.
A short distance from the shacks are four foundations for RDP homes which have been at knee level since 2014.
Moyikwa said: “We will prioritise the residents in the shacks because of their living conditions.” — firstname.lastname@example.org