Kwadukuza: ‘We are a forgotten community’



Published May 25, 2024


KWADUKUZA was once a bustling farming community, which developed into a residential area with its own Central Business District (CBD).

Today, residents feel they are a “forgotten community” because the suburb is in a state of decay due to the lack of service delivery with blocked storm water drains, overgrown verges, rampant crime, illegal electricity connections and lack of housing.

Despite reporting their concerns to the local councillors and the KwaDukuza Municipality, they claim nothing is being done to resolve their problems.

Renisha Govender, from Glenhills, has been living in the community for 30 years. She said the area was getting from bad to worse.

“We are experiencing water shedding at the moment. Our water can go off at any time. We are told this is due to the ongoing repairs to the leaks. I have 5 litre bottles of water stored in my shed for when the taps run dry. I also spend a lot of money buying drinking water. This is an additional cost for us and despite our water being restricted our utility bill stays the same.”

Govender said the roads were in a deplorable state.

“It is difficult to drive on the roads because of the potholes. We cannot even have family over because we are worried their cars will get damaged. No matter how much we complain, nobody helps. Crime happens 24/7 and is mostly committed by the drug addicts. They commit petty theft. My bin and plastic chairs were stolen three times.”

She said she had never seen police patrol the area.

“We have reported the crime but no one comes out to patrol or check on us. I feel like we are a forgotten community.”

Siva Pakree from Glenhills said he had a leaking water metre since last week.

“This water flooded the outside of my home and my neighbour’s front yard. I have called the municipality for help many times but no one has come to assist me.”

Pakree said he had to close his water line because of the amount of water being wasted.

“The municipality and councillors only want us to vote but they are not doing anything to change or improve our living conditions. I am fed up.”

Thenjiwe Nyawo, a resident from the Steve Biko area, said the infrastructure of her RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) house was deteriorating.

“For years the roof has been leaking and over time the holes have become bigger. When it rains my house gets flooded. I try to put buckets to collect the rain but it is not enough. Each time it rains my clothing, bed sheets and furniture get destroyed. I reported this to my councillor but there was no help.”

Vanitha Pillay, from Gledhow, said when it rained her back yard flooded with water and sewage due to a blocked pipe.

“It is terrible to see human waste floating in my yard. During the floods in January we could not stop the water and waste from coming inside the house. The smell was terrible and my furniture was damaged.”

Pillay said as a temporary measure they sealed off the door.

“We hoped this would stop the water from coming in when it rained. We have called the municipality for help but nothing has been done. I don’t feel like voting because simple issues like this are not being resolved. My husband has 4th stage cancer. This environment is not good for his health. The municipality does nothing to help us.”

Jade Naidoo from Murugan Road said they did not have working street lights and there were no speed bumps.

“Our street is not cared for. It is difficult for us to live like this. Some motorists drive so fast that we had to ask for speed bumps for the safety of our children. We also don’t have water but on every road there are water leaks. We complain but no one listens.”

Naidoo said unemployment was rife in the community.

“Youth are willing to work but sadly cannot get jobs.”

Vasanthie Pillay has been living the Bangladesh area and has been waiting for a RDP house. Pillay’s current house, which was for the Gledhow Sugar Mill workers, was damaged during the floods.

“My husband and I did not have a place to live. We saw this vacant home and we moved in. It is in a bad condition but we had no choice. The walls are damaged and damp. It is hard for us to breathe. The wood on the doors and around the home is rotten.”

She said they had put their names on the list for RDP homes but nothing had materialised.

“Life is hard. My husband is a car guard and whatever money he earns for the day is for food. This is how we live day to day. There are times we don’t know if he will make enough for us to have a meal.”

Residents living in an old age home owned by the municipality are also facing challenges.

Shirley Rowlins, a resident, said there were about 70 houses and they paid a monthly rental of R130.

“There are homes that have been damaged by water that is leaking from the geyser. There is mould and it is difficult for residents to breathe. The window pane and toilets are in a bad condition and no renovations have been done.”

Rowlins said residents had lodged complaints with the councillors but nothing was done.

Dennis Padayachee, another resident, said a tree in her backyard had fallen and she had been waiting for someone from the municipality to remove it.

“Apart from this, the condition of my home is in a bad state. The bathroom fixtures are damaged. There is water leaking.”

Padayachee said the smell from the water damage caused her asthma to flare up.

“We are expected to vote but how can we when simple things are not being fixed? We are just left with empty promises.”