IFP blames government for failing to build houses for flood victims

Some families squashed in a one room flat on Durban Point Road complained of overcrowding, and about lack of privacy. Picture. Supplied

Some families squashed in a one room flat on Durban Point Road complained of overcrowding, and about lack of privacy. Picture. Supplied

Published Feb 22, 2023


Durban — The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal has said the failure of the government to build houses for destitute communities in KZN was the reason behind the suffering of the flood victims in eThekwini.

This was after the IFP KZN provincial spokesperson for human settlements Thokozile Gumede undertook an oversight visit to ward 80 in uMlazi on Monday.

Gumede met the flood victims who were promised help by the government but instead have been left living under conditions she called “inhumane”.

Gumede said, "The residents of ward 80 continue to build their shacks on the banks of the uMlazi River, which has resulted in shacks being washed away during the April 2022 floods. They were promised they would be moved to better housing, but that has never materialised. They instead continue living in shacks erected on the riverbank. This is yet another disaster waiting to happen should the floods strike again," said Gumede.

"I also visited Durban’s Point Road, where flood victims are housed in a block of flats. I was shocked to learn that nine people from different families are sharing one room. I also found that in other rooms two families are sharing one room, one bathroom and a kitchen with malfunctioning appliances.

“No scholar transport has been provided by the government, which promised that their children would be transported to school.”

Gumede said this was yet another empty promise made by the government at the expense of poor people.

She added that the flood victims stated that they wanted to go back to their normal lives and be provided with decent houses.

"The laissez-faire attitude of the government cannot be tolerated. They must stop gambling with people's lives. As the IFP we demand that ward 80 residents in uMlazi, who are staying in shacks next to the riverbank, must be moved from that area and provided with decent houses," Gumede said.

IFP KZN provincial spokesperson for human settlements and MPL Thokozile Gumede inspects mounds of refuse on the roadside, in uMlazi ward 80, where shack dwellers live on a river bank. Pictures: Supplied

KZN Human Settlements spokesperson Mlungisi Khumalo said the department’s plans to build houses for all flood victims were at an advanced stage.

“Furthermore, to date, the department has already begun building permanent housing for all flood victims who are housed in temporary emergency accommodation.

“The department, with its stakeholders, have already acquired land parcels which are being used for the construction of decent permanent housing, such as in Verulam, where earthworks for the building have begun.”

Khumalo added that those who were affected by the April floods were warned of the dangers of building in flood plains, especially on the side of riverbanks.

He added that the department was aware that a new group of dwellers were trying to build on riverbanks and floodplains, despite a stern warning of the dangers associated with it.

“It is therefore deeply worrisome and concerning of the IFP to claim to be concerned, especially since they have confirmation that the department was on track with its plans to provide permanent and decent shelter for the flood victims.

“The department further rejects the IFP’s claim that the flood victims have been left in limbo. The living conditions of the flood victims have drastically improved as compared to mass care centres,” Khumalo concluded.

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