Municipality slow to bring disaster relief - Farming community

2016-03-01 14:08

Durban – A small farming community in KwaZulu-Natal says its local municipality has failed it after not providing the much-needed storm damage relief it promised.

Around 21 residents of Jindon Farm, who live less than a kilometre from the uMshwathi Municipality, said it had not delivered on an undertaking to repair and replace homes that were damaged in a hail storm on December 12 last year.

Dumazile Magwaza, 68, said she had no electricity, no running water and no toilet. She, her 23-year-old daughter and 4-year-old grandchild were at home when the storm struck.

“The municipality promised to help us after the storm, but nothing happened. So what can I do? My leg doesn’t work and we have nothing. I cannot pay for repairs and my disability allowance must pay to put food on the table.”

According to Magwaza’s neighbour, who did not want to be named, residents were promised tents, food parcels and help to fix their houses.

“Nothing happened. Now we have tree logs on the roofs of our houses to stop them blowing off.  What we need is urgent help to repair our houses.”

Land rights advocate at the Association For Rural Advancement, Siya Sithole, said the situation at Jindon Farm was straightforward.

“The municipality has an emergency fund for natural disasters so it should be relatively easy for them to assist. Straight after the storm, they should have sent a team to assess the damage and provided emergency relief and help with repairs.”

Municipality spokesperson Lungi Msomi said Jindon Farm was not the only area affected.

Msomi said seven of the municipality's 13 wards had been hit hard by the storm. A total of 1 255 homes were assessed.

The municipality had submitted its reports and was waiting for the provincial human settlements department to get back to them.

According to Msomi, department officials had performed their own assessments.

“None of the other wards have been assisted. We have done the best we could within our power.”

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