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Burundi settlement flood victims refuse to leave hall until homes are fixed

Burundi informal settlement residents near Mfuleni who forcefully occupied Chris Hani Hall, have vowed to stay there until their homes were no longer flooded with rainwater. Picture. Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Burundi informal settlement residents near Mfuleni who forcefully occupied Chris Hani Hall, have vowed to stay there until their homes were no longer flooded with rainwater. Picture. Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 20, 2022

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Cape Town - Burundi informal settlement residents near Mfuleni who forcefully occupied Chris Hani Hall, have vowed to stay there until their homes were no longer flooded with rainwater.

About 60 residents have occupied the hall since Thursday, saying their ward councillor wanted them out but he would not provide an alternative.

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A resident whose house was flooded, Xolisani Mngcwengi, said he had lost hope.

“When our houses were flooding, we called our ward councillor to come and have a look at the situation.

“He did not respond. After hours, we as residents decided to occupy the hall.

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“He came with law enforcement officers and told us to leave the hall because that was his working place.

“We questioned him about why he did not come when we called him, and why he was being escorted by law enforcement officers.

“His answer was that he was busy and it was not his responsibility to check flooded houses.

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“His response did not sit very well with us, and whether he likes it or not we will stay here until everything is sorted, out,” said Mngcwengi.

Another resident, Meliswa Nzwana, said there were people with newborn babies staying in the cold hall.

“Almost everyone here has lost clothes and food. We asked our ward councillor to at least get something for the babies, but he did nothing.

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“One of the local businessmen has been providing us with soup and clothes for the mothers and babies. The ward councillor did nothing and he is nowhere to be found during this time, but when it is time to vote he goes door-to-door begging for our votes,” said Nzwana.

Mfuleni ward councillor Mongezi Madikane said he had noted the number of people affected by floods and was busy organising materials to assist the affected people.

“I have attended to all the issues from day one but we had issues here and there which were solved at a later stage.

“I have organised local business people and other people to assist by providing the flood victims with food and clothes.

“In the meantime, there are people who are displaced at the hall until their houses are fixed.

“There are a number of people affected, and they have told us what was damaged by the floods. We are also working closely with City officials to deal with the matter,” said Madikane.

Disaster risk management spokesperson, Charlotte Powell, said the City was aware that residents of the Burundi settlement were occupying the Chris Hani Hall.

“The City’s disaster risk management centre activated Sassa to provide humanitarian assistance.

NGO, Islamic Relief, is also on-site today, providing pre-packaged meals,” said Powell.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said there were still nine localised flood-affected areas, and City teams were doing all they could to pump out water in those areas.

“The task team ensures various departmental plans are in place and at the ready to assist residents in the event of flooding or other weather-related damages during winter.

“More than 100 City teams continue to work in all high-risk areas. We are ensuring that residents in flood-affected areas have access to clean water by deploying water tankers as well as temporary ablution facilities according to notifications received,” said Hill-Lewis.

Cape Times

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