DURBAN - Lamontville residents who were left destitute last week after their shacks burnt down to the ground said they have not received aid from the City’s Disaster management team or their ward Councillor.
Nonhlanhla Bolilitye, one of the affected residents said seven shacks housing 21 people burnt down.
She said she smelled something burning and shortly after a man came shouting “fire.”
“We went outside and saw that everything inside the house of one of the neighbours was burning.
“He said while he was cooking something on the stove the lights went off and when the lights came back he wasn't in the house and everything got burnt,” said Bolilitye.
The 35-year-old, who lives with her three children aged three to 11, said she lost everything.
“No one came to help, we went the following day to the council office and they told us that the councillor is hospitalised and we have to wait for her to come out of the hospital,” Bolilitye said.
Bolilitye said disaster management came on Thursday, two days after the fire, asked questions and took her details down.
“Nobody came back with feedback including the councillors office. From Tuesday until today[Monday] nobody has come to assist besides Mr Ngema.
I can see he is trying his best. He brought mattresses and clothing and now at least my children have clothes,” she said.
She said they are sleeping in other people’s houses and have to ask for food.
Out of desperation, a neighbour contacted Merebank PR ward councillor Sithembiso Ngema to assisted the affected families.
He said police came to the scene and later eThekwini Disaster Management but the community were not happy with them.
“Normally when disaster management arrives on the scene they have to take a list of the people affected and then with immediate effect, they need to give them food parcels and blankets,” said Ngema.
Ngema added that eThekwini Municipality failed these residents who were “left homeless without food or blankets.”
The councillor thanked the community members who stepped up after he made a call for help.
“I managed to get them a few blankets, mattresses as well as clothes for the children and the adults. One guy also donated 45 loves of bread on Friday and I also have more clothes that were donated by the Merebank community,” said Ngema.
Bolilitye further explained that the government wants them to vote ANC but the “ANC councillor did nothing to help us.”
“We have a councillor who we voted for and we trusted that person to give us some help when we need help. Right now we don't have anybody to help us. We are on our own except for Mr Ngema,” she said.
Lamontville ward councillor Octava Mthembu said she underwent an operation last week and is still recovering but she has been in contact with her office and they had sent disaster management to assist.
I didn't speak to them because I had an operation but we did our part by sending disaster management. They did not come back to the office to say that disaster management did not help them,” said Mthembu.
She said she will ask her office to do a followup.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela confirmed that the incident was attended to by the City’s Disaster Management team.
“An assessment was conducted and the service provider has been activated to deliver relief to the affected people,” said Mayisela.