Victims of Mamelodi flash floods threaten to punish ANC at polls
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Pretoria - Residents of Mamelodi who were left homeless by flash floods in December 2019 have vowed to punish the ruling party during the upcoming local government elections.
This after on December 9, 2019, more than 700 shacks at an informal settlement in Eerste Fabrieke, Mamelodi, were swept away by floods, when the river overflowed.
More than 1 000 people were said to have been left homeless, among them women and children.
Since then various parties have come forward to offer assistance, as the City failed to move them, leaving them to either live in shacks rebuilt on the precarious area, or nearby community halls and church buildings.
Among them was ActionSA, which offered to bring change, and which last week accused the DA-led City of reneging on the promise to relocate the residents to land identified for them.
ActionSA’s Tshwane mayoral candidate Abel Tau said the response of the Gauteng provincial government to the plight of the victims had not been good.
“Premier David Makhura swore to move the affected families to a safe space as a matter of urgency back in 2019. ActionSA found it concerning that only 192 of the 790 families would be accommodated in the City’s relocation plans, while the rest of the families were to be left in a state of unending limbo; while the DA-led City of Tshwane supposedly cobbled together yet another relocation plan,” said Tau.
Representative of the flood victims, Disemba Matlala, on Saturday told Pretoria News they were fed up with the City’s empty promises. “There are more than 4 000 of us here, and not even a quarter of us have been relocated. The rainy season is upon us yet again, and each year it is the same story, the rain damages our homes, and the illegal electricity connections are placing our lives at risk.”
He added that they wanted to be relocated before the upcoming elections or they would effectively “punish the ruling party” by voting for opposition parties.
Another resident who spoke on the lack of movement was Alvin Muavha, who said it was sad that residents from neighbouring squatter camps had been relocated but they had not. He also accused the City of Tshwane of using lockdown regulations as an excuse for not relocating them. “We can’t even get proof of residence and access certain services because they do not recognise our squatter camp.”
City of Tshwane chief of Staff Jordan Griffiths said the City had accommodated a number of families that were affected by the Mamelodi floods, and they remained committed to the relocation process. “All relocations must be done in line with the law, and the residents must be moved to land that has been earmarked for settlement. The City is in the process of identifying appropriate land so this can be addressed so that this process can be taken further.”
Griffiths added that it was difficult to estimate how long the process of identifying appropriate land would take, because the process hinged on land availability, suitability and available budget. “Land also has to be independently valued,” he said.