City Vision

Flooding mystery baffles residents

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Some of the shacks flooded with water that comes from beneath the ground.
Some of the shacks flooded with water that comes from beneath the ground.

While this year’s winter rains have largely been welcomed, for WB Section residents, in Site B, they have been a “curse”.

On Monday 13 September, the City of Cape Town announced that the capacity for dams supplying Cape Town with water sat at 101% from 101,8% week on week. The City cautioned communities against complacency, saying Cape Town is situated in a water scarce area.

However, this news is a bitter pill to swallow for the troubled community of WB. The heavy downpours have simply brought misery. Since the start of the winter season, they claim to have been flooded. According to them, the rains have caused underground water to filter into their homes.

While flooding has largely been experienced in the new informal settlement, most of whom were established at the start and during the initial stages of the national lockdown, WB residents told City Vision they have lived in the area since 1994 and have never experienced any flooding. They are now appealing for any “meaningful” assistance to get out of their plight.

When City Vision visited the area on Thursday 9 September, several homes were abandoned due to flooding. Residents said this also affected their lives as they often suffer from flu and colds.

Resident Thandisizwe Jali said he tried in vain to resolve the problem. “I have been living in this area since 1994, and all these years we have never experienced something like this. It is only recently that we encounter this problem. Our furniture gets damaged easily because it’s standing in water,” said the father of two.

Jali told City Vision their only hope is relocation to another area before the next winter season. “If this water is like this, how much more will it be in winter? We are really appealing for help and hope that when people see this they will be able to come to our rescue,” he said.

Fellow resident Zoleka Papa said: “This is an unbearable situation. Our houses are stinking; we get sick with flu and rush because of this. The only solution here is to relocate us into another area as this water comes from beneath the ground.”

The mother of four said children got sick as a result of this water.

Malusi Booi, Mayco member for Human Settlements, said residents were offered opportunities in the City’s Bosasa Incremental Development Area (IDA) but the majority declined. He added that residents were encouraged to register to the City’s Housing Needs Register for consideration when opportunities become available.

“Without registering on the City’s Housing Needs Register, it is not possible to be considered for an opportunity. The City is investigating the cause and possible engineering solutions,” he said.

Booi said representatives from his office and City officials from various directorates visited WB last week to discuss their challenges with the local leadership.

Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health, said: “It must be noted that WB section has not previously experienced incidents of major flooding and the current situation is definitely an anomaly which requires investigation and urgent action to avert further public health risk. A site meeting to be coordinated by Disaster Risk Management with all the relevant role players to assess the situation, and come up with interim solutions, was requested.”

Nkululeko Nkomombini, WB Section chair, refuted claims that they did not want to be relocated to Bosasa, rather residents of Mfuleni did not want people from Khayelitsha and the City was to engage them on the matter. He said they were still waiting on the City to send engineers and roads department to inspect the area. .

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