Etshelimnyama flood victims call on government to relocate them to more suitable land

Flood survivors from Itshelimnyana, west of Durban, are calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to relocate them to land suitable to live on. The call comes ahead of Ramaphosa’s visit to flood-damaged areas, in his capacity as the African National Congress (ANC) president this weekend.

The Itshelimnyana area – which falls under the eThekwini metro – was severely damaged by the floods last month. Over 400 people died in the province.

It’s been a month since deadly floods ravaged KwaZulu-Natal. Now, families seeking shelter at community halls and local churches are beginning to lose patience. Some community members from Itshelimnyana who are being accommodated at a local church, say they feel neglected.

The church which also receives donations from NGOs is accommodating over 120 flood survivors. But despite their frustration, they are hopeful that Ramaphosa could bring change.

Mother of five – Nolufefe Mbhenyana – who was badly injured during the floods, is calling for safe and decent housing.

“As you see me seated like this on this mattress, I have just been recently discharged from hospital. I was badly injured on my left leg. The entire wall of my house fell on top of me and my baby. Luckily my husband and my other children were not injured. We lost everything. l want to ask President Cyril Ramaphosa if he can please build us houses in a safe land. We can’t stay in shelters forever. We need our privacy with our families.”

Muzikayifani Vezi – whose house was destroyed last month – says during the 2019 floods, he lost everything. He is calling on the ANC leadership to ensure that the temporary residential units are better than those built after the 2019 floods.

“I was placed in a temporary shelter in 2019 just after the floods. I had no choice but to make other means. I got a job and I started building my own house which I lost during the 2022 floods. I don’t have shelter now. I ask that government builds us proper temporary houses. I have stayed in a temporal shelter and my experience was bad. If Ramaphosa can please help us with that.”

Another flood survivor, Nontshumayelo Lenge says they believe that the land in their area is not suitable for people to build on.

“I am very ashamed that Ramaphosa is visiting again. In 2019 they didn’t allow us to address him about our issues. Tomorrow when he visits, we are not going to argue with him but we are just desperate for answers. If he can please relocate us to a better and safer land. If they build temporary shelter can they please be proper?”

ANC deputy president David Mabuza, the party’s national chairperson Gwede Mantashe and the treasurer General Paul Mashatile will also visit flood-affected communities this weekend in the KZN midlands.


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