Destroyed Duduza houses to be rebuilt
Johannesburg - Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi has promised to rebuild RDP houses for the families of Duduza on the East Rand, whose houses were destroyed by a tornado, the department said on Tuesday.
"A team was set up to assess the damages so that we can make plans accordingly," said Mmemezi on Tuesday night.
He made the promise after visiting Duduza with the health and social development MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane also thanked South Africans for coming to the assistance of the victims of the tornado that hit Duduza on Sunday.
"The compassion and the spirit of ubuntu that has been displayed by South Africans of all hues to the many families who are affected by the devastating impact of the tornado must be lauded," she said on Tuesday.
"To those who have donated foodstuffs, blankets and their time - we thank you. It is at times such as these that one is truly humbled to lead a province of people with such empathy."
An 8-year-old boy died, 166 people were injured and 2 790 people were left homeless after the tornado descended on the township, near Nigel, on Sunday night. Over 550 homes were destroyed.
On Monday, Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele declared the township a disaster area.
Mokonyane said the province had set up a joint operations centre to co-ordinate relief efforts, and to install toilets and water tankers.
It had asked home affairs to help those who had lost documentation, the premier said.
Mmemezi visited Duduza on Tuesday, and criticised those who he said were exploiting the disaster for "political point-scoring".
"Blaming and pointing fingers at each other will delay the process of finding solutions to the plight of the destitute people...," Mmemezi said.
Earlier, Democratic Alliance MP Jack Bloom said the houses had been badly built, with "hardly any cement between the bricks".
"This must have contributed to the houses crumbling when the tornado hit," Bloom said.
Mmemezi said the houses had been damaged by the tornado, which he blamed on climate change. He said an account would be set up with the provincial treasury for donations to those affected by the tornado.
The community should also plant trees as future barriers against damaging winds, such as those experienced on Tuesday.
Mmemezi said the damage report would be considered by himself and Mokonyane when it was received from the municipality.
"In essence we will support the Ekurhuleni Municipality and the National Disaster Management Centre in rebuilding the over 500 houses that were flattened by the tornado," Mmemezi said.