Refuge in ruins

2020-01-15 06:01
Gladys Thipenyane, Mangaung Metro Municipality councillor for Human Settlements and Housing, addresses scores of residents of Caleb Motshabi affected by strong winds and flooding. Photo: Teboho Setena

Gladys Thipenyane, Mangaung Metro Municipality councillor for Human Settlements and Housing, addresses scores of residents of Caleb Motshabi affected by strong winds and flooding. Photo: Teboho Setena

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In the aftermath of severe flooding, residents in the Mangaung Metro Municipality face the daunting task of trying to rebuild their lives.

Heavy rain accompanied by a thunderstorm wreaked havoc on Friday (10/01), with strong winds blowing away dwellings and the roofs of several structures.

About 16 people in Caleb Motshabi were reportedly injured and one person died due to dismantled corrugated iron sheets.

Caleb Motshabi, Bergman Square, Phase 7 to Phase 10 and Khayelitsha are among the affected areas.

While some of the residential areas are established, storm drainage systems are non-existent, thus making them prone to floods during heavy rainfall.

It could take months for the residents to repair dwellings, both brick and corrugated iron structures.

Many of those affected have to cope with complete property loss while hoping for some relief offered by government spheres, which include the Mangaung Metro Municipality.

Some residents lamented bitterly that they have lost important possessions, in­cluding identity documents, which will be required for approval to get aid from government.

During a visit to Caleb Motshabi, Executive Mayor Olly Mlamleli spelled out that preference would be given to legitimate South Africans who possess the necessary documents, adding that a verification process was underway ahead of approval of the allocation of about 7 000 houses in Caleb Motshabi. This process paves the way to formalise the settlement.

Seeking refuge, scores of affected residents of Caleb Motshabi attempted to occupy empty houses in the adjacent area. The houses are being developed by Freddie Kenny’s Kentha Developers company.

Daniel Molefi, one of these residents, said that their effort was temporary to enable those affected to rebuild their lives, while awaiting relief from the provincial government and the municipality.

“People will vacate these houses as progress is made with relocation and assistance. It’s not a forceful takeover,” he said.

Gladys Thipenyane, councillor for Human Settlements and Housing in the municipality, addressed affected residents and stated that the municipality had no power to make any decision about the temporary occupation of those houses.

She explained that houses were part of the provincial government project.

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