Durban - The community of Shastri Park, Phoenix, said they were living in fear due to the recurring floods, and have called upon the authorities to clean the river and build a concrete canal.
The community members called for intervention from the government and the municipality to help improve the state of the overflowing nearby river, as it was a security threat because of the bushy river banks.
They want the river banks to be developed properly and cleared to remove the threat.
They said they have previously reached out to the municipality after the 2019 floods but there was no fast response.
Nivel Lalmund, a community member and Palmville Secondary School’s school governing body deputy chairperson, said the riverbanks had made them susceptible to flooding. Lalmund said the riverbanks had also become a hideout for criminals, who were “ready to attack at night”.
“Pupils in the schools are always reporting that they have been robbed and they say that it is someone who came from the riverbanks; are we going to wait until there is a rape case to act on this?” added Lalmund.
The community’s other concern was that after the first floods they have not received any help, and they were still sleeping on the floor and felt neglected.
“Our kids are still without school uniforms, they go to school in sneakers. Fortunately, the schools offered us some help but where is the help from our local leaders? We want their intervention immediately,” said Leena Rasen.
The community members said they have tried to clean the river banks on their own and also sourced help from their own pockets but felt that it was not enough as more resources were needed.
The community said they need the municipality to send workers and for a TLB to help dig all the dirt so that concrete bags can be put there to avoid illegal dumping.
They also claimed that had they not gone out of their way out to clean the river themselves the floods that happened over the weekend would have hit them too.
Maggie Johnson, a ward councillor of ward 51, said they were not neglecting the community, but were yet to cater to them as they have been attending to major infrastructural damages.
Johnson claimed that they cleaned a whole lot of litter in February but the place was always going back to the mess it was. She said illegal dumping was the main issue in the community and that she would like the people in the community to start taking responsibility because the more they dump the worse the situation will be.
However, community members told the Daily News that it was usually people from other communities who came in vans to dump illegally, which was the reason they wanted it to be closed.
“I have taken information to the officials, and they have assured me that everything is going to be fixed. An amount of R1.9 million has been set aside as a budget to help fix everything.”