DURBAN - WITH the images of mud slides and water forcefully gushing into uMdloti homes from last month’s floods fresh in everyone’s minds, the residents of uMdloti could not have prepared themselves enough for another hit to their properties.
Local residents Pam Connor and her neighbour and friend, Stephanie Spence, who have lived in uMdloti for decades, say they have never seen such damage to the area from rain.
“I have lived here for 34 years and I have never seen heavy rains cause such damage to the area, I would hate to move as my family and my business is rooted here,” said Connor.
She said the recent rains had resulted in her family business shutting its doors as there is no water and electricity.
The eThekwini Municipality has appealed to uMdloti residents to be patient while it was doing “everything in our power to meet their needs”.
“Efforts are going to be doubled to restore basic services and infrastructure. Already, our employees or personnel have cleared roads that were blocked in the area, now some roads are accessible,” said eThekwini spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela.
The residents allege that the bulk of the flood-related damage, especially the mud slides that have cost many residents their homes, is related to removal of vital vegetation in the area to make way for the development of a new estate.
Last week before the weekend heavy rains, the developers of the estate said that they had always maintained the highest levels in planning and implementation, with strict compliance with all national and municipal laws and any applicable by-laws – this was in response to claims made after the April floods.
Premier Sihle Zikalala visited uMdloti yesterday to assess the damage.
The premier said they would continue to assist everyone affected, especially those in community shelters.
“The recent damage adds on to the work we were doing to try to rebuild the province. The weekend floods damaged a bridge that connects uMdloti and La Mercy and we will make sure that the bridge is repaired within a month,” said Zikalala.
Another affected area was Hammarsdale, west of Durban.
Sbusiso Ngcongo, ward 5 councillor, said he had received 17 calls from families who said their homes were damaged by the latest floods, bringing the total number of people affected in his ward since the April floods to 572.
“No one was evacuated from their home this past weekend but the ward has been severely affected,” he said.
One of the families affected in the ward have not been able to return to their home since the April floods after their homestead was submerged in water.
Zinhle Mhlongo said all 11 members of her family will continue to stay with relatives as the weekend rains left their home under water once again.
Meanwhile non-profit environmental organisations The Litterboom Project (TLP) will be cleaning up uMdloti Beach and the Beachwood mangroves until Friday.
“The public are welcome to join us, but must bring gloves, closed shoes and some water.
“TLP will provide bags and will remove the plastic from the beaches,” said TLP CEO Cameron Service.