Sunken shacks to be rebuilt

2019-01-24 06:00
Xhanti Manyakanyaka points to the hole in the ground inside his shack which sunk in August 2018..                 PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

Xhanti Manyakanyaka points to the hole in the ground inside his shack which sunk in August 2018.. PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

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In August 2018, shack dwellers in Zone 20, Langa, woke up with a sinking feeling, so to speak, because the land on which their houses had been built, seemed to be being sucked into the earth.

For about 11 families, the nightmare has caused consternation and uncertainty about their future.

After an investigation, however, it has been established that ageing underground infrastructure was the cause of their woes.

Now the City has announced that the lot will be relocated to zone 23, a supposedly safe and firm ground.

Because the land on which they built their previous shacks was not surveyed, the firmness of the ground could not be established.

The City has said they will install a temporary sewage system to divert the sewerage away from the drain in Zone 20, to reduce the load on that drainage system and to avoid the spills that caused the ground to soften and sink.

It has emerged that since the incident, some families have not returned to the site, opting to stay with relatives and others with friends.

The affected families said the problem started last year in August during heavy rains and some of the shacks started sinking to the ground.

Xhanti Manyakanyaka, said he was with a friend when he felt the ground sunk in, and his friend immediately tumbled to the ground.

“We were chatting, then we saw the ground sink. My friend was sitting in a chair fell inside the hole but we managed to pull him out, unharmed,” said Manyakanyaka.

In the aftermath, he said he vacated the shack and went to squat at a hostel.

“I don’t mind moving, as long as I will be safe with my family.”

Manyakanyaka squats with his wife and son. He said the issue of housing development in the area is not clear, as they haven’t received any reports.

Ward 52 Councillor Samkelo John has confirmed that the families will be relocated in the first week of February. He said the area has had an incessant problem with the drainage system over a long period.

“The drainage system pipe in the area bursts now and then, and affects other areas. The challenge with Langa is that of an old infrastructure(the area was established in 1937) which was designed for a small population and now doesn’t have the capacity to carry the population that we now have.”

Work to prepare the ground, including levelling, installation of the new pipes, communal taps and flushing toilets, was meant to expected to start yesterday (Wednesday).

He emphasised that only about 30 structures will be built.

“There are 11 families from Zone 20 and other 19 families are from Zone 23 who are also facing some challenges,” he concluded.

On the issue of housing development in the area, John said the City has already started the Hostel Transformation Programme, of which Langa is part.

“The City has already started with the programme in Langa which phase One and Two both in ward 52.”

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