Zikalala family among those evacuated during weekend flooding in KZN

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
Darren Stewart
  • KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala and his family had to be evacuated from their Durban home during weekend flooding.
  • Zikalala lives in La Mercy, an area where much of the water infrastructure has been destroyed.
  • Zikalala said the community worked together and restored access to the area by late Sunday afternoon.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala was among the residents forced to evacuate their homes in La Mercy, north of Durban, during the weekend floods that caused damage throughout the city.

Zikalala, who lives in the small coastal community, said he was working with others in the area to evacuate people and restore road access.

"So, yesterday I worked till late, midnight, coordinating the evacuation of people in danger of floods. Then later, at dawn, I found out that I, myself had to be evacuated as all roads around had been washed away," Zikalala said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"I also drove myself out with my three boys Ntobeko, Awande and Sandiswa. But all this could not have been achieved without the support and prayers of the one and only Nelly Zikalala (Zikalala's wife)," he added.

On Monday, Zikalala said much had to be done to restore the northern parts of the city that had already been badly affected by the flooding in April.

The Tongaat Water Works broke down and was expected to take up to 10 months to rebuild. The northern communities have been battling with local officials to find alternate water supply.

READ | 'The damage is huge' - KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala visits flood-hit areas in Durban

The Tongaat community protested almost a month after the April floods, demanding better living conditions. The SA Human Rights Commission is investigating if the slow response to water issues was a violation of people's basic rights.

Zikalala said the weekend flooding would delay the rebuilding process.

He added: 

The fact that we have started rebuilding and floods took place again means work done had to be stopped. Worse is that we are incurring more costs because work already done was washed away.

Speaking about the evacuation and his own safety, Zikalala said the entire community had been under threat, not just himself.

"The community in La Mercy was left with no access. We could not go out or enter. Those of us in the area had to work to ensure we clear the roads yesterday.

"I think by late afternoon yesterday we managed to clear the road and get access in and out of the area."

At least 448 people were killed in the April flooding, with more than 80 people still missing.

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