Mamelodi flood victims welcome news of relocation to safer piece of land

Emmanuel Mhlongo outside his house at Eerste Fabiek, Mamelodi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Emmanuel Mhlongo outside his house at Eerste Fabiek, Mamelodi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 22, 2022


Pretoria - Mamelodi flood victims have welcomed the news that they may be relocated to a safer piece of land before the next rainy season.

This comes after Tshwane MMC for Human Settlements Abel Tau revealed that Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile wrote to his office to confirm the purchase of the land to house the flood victims in Region 5 and 6.

The community of 77 Bufferlake informal settlement have been waiting to be relocated for years and have in that period experienced varying degrees of flooding, which often ruined their shacks, furniture and even washed away their clothes.

Their plight attracted the urgent attention of local and provincial spheres of governments, multi-political parties and leaders who all gathered the hopeless people under a tree and promised to assist them.

Houses next to the Pienaars river in Eerste Fabiek, Mamelodi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

This is after the river overflowed in December 2019, washing away homes and leaving families displaced.

The families were relocated to community halls and churches in the community, but as the delays in relocating them continued, some moved back to the flood-prone area, and have been waiting for City relocation since.

After the community experienced another flooding earlier this year, Tau promised them that they would be relocated by October.

He engaged them briefly to give them the update, saying he would do the difficult job of working with others to find the people land. Tau also highlighted that finding land was not easy because people could be opportunistic and overprice it because they knew the government needed it for the people.

Houses next to the Pienaars river in Eerste Fabiek, Mamelodi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

At the weekend Tau said he was happy that headway was being made, especially given that in August, as ActionSA MMC in the multiparty coalition government in Tshwane, he met the Mamelodi community affected by the recent floods together with the ward councillor in the area, to share the good news on the much-anticipated new development.

“This land measures at 472 hectares and is expected to accommodate 15 700 stands for the displaced community members, some of whom still live in temporary dwellings.

“I reassured the community that the plans which are under way will ensure that their relocation takes place well ahead of the next rainy season. During this time, site clearing, preparation, rudimentary water and sanitary services will be provided for by the City, and will be implemented once the community has been relocated.

“Regions 5 and 6 are currently in the process of being rezoned, and will accordingly be declared as townships to facilitate the ease of preparation for bulk infrastructure provision. The community welcomed our multiparty coalition government’s commitment to ensuring that their relocation was fast-tracked, and due care was taken to facilitate availability of transport.

“The tender for transport is at its final stages and the community will be swiftly transported to the proposed location.”

Emmanuel Mhlongo, who lives with a family of three in a shack, said: “This is good news and it feels like we have been waiting for it all our lives. I am happy and I can assure you my family is going to be happy. We just want to have a place of our own that is safe and legal.”

Eunice Ngwana said: “Everybody deserves to live in a safe and secure place. We were beginning to lose hope because many have come here and made all kinds of promises.

“We hope this time we will see ourselves moving. The majority of us want to be safe away from this place.

“We are grateful and we hope they can do the same for others after us.”

A local communication leader who asked not to be named said: “I am probably going to be one of those people who are going to stay behind. I know which sections do not get flooded and I wish to live there.

“This place is a convenience to live in. The train station is just next door.

“The shopping centres and hospital and libraries and schools are all just a walking distance away.

“Even going to Pretoria is quicker and easier.”

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