KANYAMAZANE – The resident of storm-damaged houses suffered damage to their property when rain hit this weekend.
Elizabeth Manana (80), a resident whose house was damaged by the storm in May, said that the tarpaulin covering their houses was blown up by the wind and then the rain got in.
“This was just the small rain and it already did damages. We are scared now of the big rains that are still coming,” Manana said.
Residents with storm-damaged homes are also claiming they are not receiving equal treatment. More than two weeks have passed since Mpumalanga premier, Refilwe Mtsweni, stated on August 22 that she is “urging the contractors to complete the said work within three to four weeks”.
The citizens in the streets, however, are telling a different story.
“No one has even come to see what damage there is. The roof is still damaged and it rained into my house already. We are very afraid for the summer when the rains will come,” said Manana. Her asbestos roof and her corrugated iron roof were damaged.
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She stays in a nameless street right next to EJ Mabuza Street where almost 10 houses have been affected. Simphiwe Phiri stays in the same street. He also said that no one has come to assess the damage on the houses in Ward 19. These houses are the responsibility of the Department of Human Settlements.
“They promised the would come and fix the house after the natural storm, till today nothing is happening. Only in ward 18,” Phiri said. In Ward 18, at least 10 houses are without roofs as well as at least five houses in the Chris Hani Street.
Phiri said that they at least received new windows after the disaster struck. According to Neil Diamond, the municipal manager of the City of Mbombela Local Municipality, he and his general managers donated R30 000 out of their own pockets to fix the windows after the disaster.
“We restored all of the power and water after the storm and we cleared all the streets, doing damage control of about R30 million,” Diamond said. “Even though the damage to the houses is not our responsibility, we are willing to assist the Department of Human Settlements is any way possible,” Diamond concluded.
Department of Human Settlements’ spokesman, Freddy Ngobe, previously said that the R19 million budget they have for disaster management would not be enough to repair all the damage done by the storm. “We are awaiting additional funds from the national department,” Ngobe said.
At time of going to print the Department of Human Settlements had not responded to enquiries about finance, the number of roofs that have been replaced or how they prioritised which houses should be fixed first.