Durban - The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal staged a protest yesterday over the eThekwini Municipality’s failure to deal with the plight faced by flood victims, growing transit camps, rampant crime and unemployment.
IFP eThekwini secretary Joshua Mazibuko said it was giving the municipality and the provincial government 30 days to respond with solutions or they will stage a protest in larger numbers.
“Today (August 4) we only had 100 members representing the IFP and the rest of KZN. If the issues we raise are ignored we will come out in numbers, we will be like a sea marching through the city. Even if it means moving our wives and children into the (Durban) City Hall, we will do so.”
He said it was their duty as the official opposition in the province to put pressure on the government to bring about change.
Mazibuko said there were people who were moved into transit camps in 2010 who have not yet been moved into their homes, warning that the same fate awaits the flood victims who were being moved into Temporary Residential Units (TRUs).
“How long is the temporary housing going to be for? The KZN government should be looking at permanent solutions, we are saying enough is enough.
“Soon after the floods the people were told about R1 billion that was allocated for the building of homes which are temporary structures, which means a further R1 billion is required for building permanent structures.”
Mazibuko said the city had a dozen derelict buildings that could be made available for flood victims.
“These buildings are being occupied by vagrants and illegal foreigners and are further deteriorating instead of being put to good use.”
A group of flood victims that were placed into a hall did exactly that when they occupied a Transnet hostel in Montclair recently. About 400 flood victims, with the help of an organisation called uMsinsi WokuZimilela, the South African Native Movement, took refuge in the hostel as they felt it was much more appropriate for living.
Sbusiso Khumalo from the organisation said it only made sense, adding: “We didn’t understand why the municipality would move people to a Transnet-owned hall when there was a Transnet hostel sitting unoccupied”.
Khumalo said they have a plan to move more flood victims from halls into unoccupied buildings.
“We have a plan, however, we will not parade our plan like political parties garnering political gain and using our people’s misery for votes,” he said.
Responding to the issue of flood victims still in halls, the municipality said the welfare of those displaced was its priority.
“Various community halls have been opened to accommodate communities in need of shelter. We are currently working closely with the relevant provincial departments to ensure that we decrease the number of shelters and not increase them. To date we have closed 36 shelters due to people either being moved to TRUs or being given building material to start over.
“The city is fully aware that there are people living in transit camps. The city continues to do everything in its power to expedite the process for them to move to different houses, however, it must be borne in mind that the city has an influx of people coming to it daily in search of economic opportunities, like many other cities.
“Therefore, we are appealing to those still in transit camps to bear with us, as there is evidence that gradually scores of people are being moved to houses once they have been built,” said municipal spokesperson Lindiwe Khuzwayo.
Khuzwayo also appealed to all political formations to guard against using the plight of the poor to get political mileage.
The ANC in KZN was not available for comment by the time of publication.