Pretoria - The children of last year’s storm in Mamelodi did not go to school yesterday, saying their uniforms and stationery had been washed away in the December flash floods.
The learners lost everything to the floods, which left more than 1000 people displaced.
The community of Eerste Fabriek informal settlement survived with only the clothes they were wearing when the Moretele River burst its banks and swept their shacks away. They have been staying at the Mamelodi Baptist Church since.
About 100 children should have been at school, but instead they peeped through the church fences and watched their peers go .
Kamogelo Masilela, 17, looked defeated as she spoke of how it felt not to go to school. The aspiring pilot said she caught a glimpse of her friends walking to school, and she hid out of embarrassment. She was supposed to have started Grade 11 at Vukani Secondary.
Boitumelo Skhosana, who was supposed to start Grade 8 at Mamelodi High School, said her dreams of being a nurse were being shattered.
“We want uniforms, that’s all. We will pay whoever sponsors us once we start working.”
The group’s representative at the church, Tulani Ndlovu, said they were desperate.
“Most of the kids here don’t have anything to go to school in because their uniforms were washed away by the floods. So we are asking anyone that can assist with uniforms. We’ve got some already from civil society, but it’s not enough.”
Ndlovu said that since the visit by Gauteng Premier David Makhura after the floods, they had not received any help from the local or provincial governments in terms of support, trauma counselling, food or help with applying for IDs and birth certificates.
“Everyone disappeared into thin air. Up until today, we’re still struggling to get hold of anyone. Home Affairs took data from the people who lost their IDs; out of 150 they did 25 as for Social Development and anybody else, nothing whatsoever. The social workers only come here and take the stats and then they go back again,” said Ndlovu
Last year, Makhura said an interim task team committee would organise new homes for the homeless survivors.
“In all these areas, we wanted them out of these community facilities before Christmas because if they stay there longer, it creates new hazards. We have children here, elderly people. We don’t want a situation where you create new problems,” he said then.
However, provincial government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said residents would be placed on new land soon .
According to pastor Thembelani Jentile, who victims have described as “a true angel of God”, “the provincial department had asked for a time extension until the end of the month”.
“They said they had allocated land on the outskirts of Mamelodi but were waiting to seal the deal. They asked that victims be housed until the end of the month.”