Displaced Reservoir Hills residents are still living in a tent months after Durban’s April floods. They have demanded that the city help them by giving them land on which they can build houses. Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Flood victims who were displaced during April’s storm have threatened to invade land in Reservoir Hills because they claim that the eThekwini Municipality has turned a blind eye to their plight.

The 31 people, who are living in a tent, lost everything during the floods in which 71 people died and resulted in damage estimated at R1.1 billion.

The group, who had previously lived at Shannon Drive in Reservoir Hills, said they would grab the land at a sports ground in Halpin Avenue where they have been living for the past two months.

One of the victims, Nhlanhla Ngubane, 47, described the living conditions at their current site as “unbearable”, saying they were in need of “urgent assistance”.

Ngubane said it had been seven months since he completed his multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MRD TB) treatment. He said that the unhygienic conditions he lived under might have caused his sickness to get worse.

“The tent they gave us after the flood was big and accommodated all of us. After a month, they took that tent and replaced it with this torn, small, old tent. This tent can fall any time and during windy and rainy conditions, we suffer.”

Ngubane said that they had made their own bathing area in a corner of the tent for the women, while the men waited until dark before taking a bath.

The Mercury visited yesterday and saw the tent had open holes, so rain could come through it.

The stench from the toilet was unbearable.

Ngubane said they felt ignored by the council.

“If they keep ignoring us like this, we have no choice but to try and get the materials and build our own shacks here. They came to us before the elections and promised us that they will give us open land and materials to build, but now since they got our votes, they pretend that we don’t exist.

Ward councillor Xolani Nala urged the municipality to provide housing.

“I have done everything in my power to help them and if they decide to build their houses in that open space, then it is for the municipality to act,” said Nala.

City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela urged the people to be patient.

“They really must understand that there are a lot of people affected by the floods, and the municipality is trying its level best to assist everyone regardless of limited resources.”

The Mercury