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Flood flashback hell

Molweni is one of the areas that were hardest hit by last month’s floods, with road, electricity and water infrastructure having been washed away. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

Molweni is one of the areas that were hardest hit by last month’s floods, with road, electricity and water infrastructure having been washed away. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 14, 2022


Durban - Molweni residents have flashbacks of last month’s floods, as they battle to sleep at night.

While eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda visited the valley township, near Waterfall, assessing the damage and handing out groceries yesterday, residents spoke of how they feared a repeat of the hell event.

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They’re crying out for assistance.

Only one lane of the tar road in front of Neliswe Mpulo’s home is fit for vehicles or even use by pedestrians. The other is a muddle of jagged protrusions of paving, that stick out into thin air above a massive sinkhole.

Water pools in front of Mpulo’s house, and she fears it could easily invade her home once again.

Part of a road in Molweni hangs precariously above a crater caused by flood water. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

“The water entered the house through the roof and there is a sinkhole just in front of the house, which makes it difficult for us to continue staying here,” she told the Independent on Saturday.

“It is not safe at all. There are children running around the yard and, right behind the house there is also a river – so basically we are surrounded by water.

“This might cause harm in future, causing us to be more vulnerable to being flooded,” said Mpulo.

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Mpulo said she would appreciate it if the government, or the municipality, intervened and helped her family, by moving them somewhere safer.

“We hardly sleep at night as we keep having flashbacks of what happened on the day of the flooding,” she said.

Her neighbour’s house appears abandoned. A car sits stuck in mud from the floods.

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One of the houses in Molweni teeters over an area that was washed away in last month’s floods. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

Further down the street, a couch lay in a gully, leading down to a stream that flows into the nearby Mngeni River. On either side of the mess were the remains of houses, one a ruin of damaged walls, another tilting sideways on top of its unstable foundation.

Kaunda said, during his visit, that temporary residential units were being constructed in Molweni, KwaMakhutha, and Inanda, which would soon be handed over to the beneficiaries.

“Our top priority is to assist people who are currently in 64 mass care centres and, so far, we have identified 3 821 families requiring urgent assistance.

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“Our assistance includes material supplies to 3 088 households, repairs, rebuilding of 175 houses, and 560 temporary residential units that are being constructed by the Department of Human Settlements in the province,” said Kaunda.

He said 188 water tankers had been deployed in all areas where people were unable to receive water from the city’s network.

“We have also started to put static tanks and have begun drilling boreholes in these areas,” he said, adding that at least four static tanks had been installed in Molweni.

On electricity, the mayor said all power stations were now in good working condition and electricity services had been fully restored in communities, except in areas where cable theft had caused problems.

He noted improvements in water supplies.

“In the Inner West region, water supply has improved from 30% to 80%.

“In the Outer West region, it has improved from 45% to 70%, and the Central region from 45% to 72%. The Southern region has improved from 15% to 75%, after we completed repairs on the uMlazi Canal pipeline and Prince Mshiyeni Hospital pipeline.

“Supply in the Northern region has steadily improved from 40% to 45%, due to the interventions we are making in oThongathi,” stated Kaunda.

Kaunda said the oThongathi treatment plant would take about six months to repair, at a cost of R30 million.

“However, through the interventions we have made, the people of oThongathi will now be able to receive water from their taps, at least four hours a day, by the end of next week.

“In addition, we have already deployed 20 water tankers and started to drill three boreholes,” said Kaunda.

The Independent on Saturday