Durban - The woman from Umlazi in Durban whose house collapsed in a mudslide during this week's floods in the city, taking everything she owned with it, says she has been living a nightmare since the disaster.
At least 124 houses were destroyed and more than 14 people died in Umlazi alone, when heavy downpours and floods hit low-lying areas of Durban on Tuesday. Other affected areas included Chatsworth, Malvern, Queensburgh, and Mariannhill.
A real time video of the house collapsing and disappearing into a muddy cavity went viral on social media this week, showing helpless neighbours watching in horror.
Speaking at the gaping hole where her RDP house used to stand in H-section on Saturday, Fikelephi Mungwe, 62, said she did not even know where to begin to pick up the pieces of her life.
"My heart is broken and very sore. I have been trying so long and so hard to make a living for my kids to have shelter over their heads. I was still at the Easter weekend church service... when my son called to tell me the house had collapsed. I immediately left to find out my house had been washed away," a teary Mungwe said.
"Nothing at all came out of the house, not even a water bottle. Right now I am staying at another woman's house at V-section. All I was left remaining with are the clothes on my back and my ID which was in my bag because I'm a pensioner."
Mungwe, an Umlazi resident since 1974, said her house had been built and allocated to her as an RDP housing beneficiary around 2010 or 2011.
A house above where Mungwe's house used to stand also hangs by a thread and is in danger of collapsing, as its yard was washed away, leaving the concrete slab, which is not supported by foundations, exposed. Municipal workers are still in the area fixing broken power lines.
The official overall death toll from this week's floods in Durban stands at 67 after it was revised down from 70. Government agencies, private companies, and NGOs have pledged millions of rands in aid to assist the victims.
Ward 32 councillor Amon Dladla said the municipality and the provincial government were in talks about relocating the victims of the floods to another place yet to be identified.
Dladla reiterated that government would assist victims' families with burial costs, including transportation, tents, food, coffins, and other related costs.
"There are other places that were hit the worst. We have made a recommendation that we have to relocated these people. In my ward, which includes sections D, G, H, W, N, and R, four people died because we have just heard that one of the grannies who was hospitalised has also died," Dladla said.
Mnotho Mlotshwa, the 10-year-old boy whose lifeless body was recovered in the rubble after Mungwe's collapsing house swept way his father's shack, will be buried in Nkandla on Wednesday. Mnotho's father Mcebisi Mlotshwa said he was grateful for the assistance from all parties involved.
"I am currently staying with my cousin Lucky Mncube, as my shack was swept away. He has been providing for me because I only have a temporary job. What you see here in front of you is all of me and all I have right now," Mlotshwa said.
Mungwe said her son, who is in high school, had escaped the house unscathed before disaster struck. Waking along the rubble, she points down the cavity to a maroon velvet couch and says, "There is my sofa. But what can I do?"
African News Agency/ANA