DA to approach SAHRC over ‘slow’ resettlement of KZN flood victims

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal says it intends to lodge a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding what it’s calling, inhumane conditions at community halls where flood survivors are being accommodated.

Over 3800 families have been living in 82 community halls since April’s floods. The families are largely from informal settlements that were badly hit by the floods.

Three months later, victims, young and old, are still living in cramped halls with no privacy. They lack clothes, food, and proper hygiene supplies leaving many of them even more vulnerable.

Mother of two, Nokuthula Mkhize lives in the community hall in Yellowwood Park and is among over 100 people still there. Mkhize says sometimes they sleep without food because the food parcels have dried up.

Mkhize says, “It is hard, many of us here are unemployed, and very few people here still have their jobs. The situation is so bad. We all have to contribute towards food so we can cook and eat together. We are no longer getting food from the government.”

“We also don’t have any privacy. There are women, children, and men all living under one shelter. We don’t know where we stand in terms of getting proper houses. We are also getting sick because it is also extremely cold at night,” says Mkhize.

Oversight visits

The DA in the province has been conducting oversight visits to several community halls to check on the living conditions. DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers says the provincial government has missed its deadline to relocate these victims to temporary housing units.

Rodgers says, “The hall that I visited yesterday is inhumane. It’s absolutely disgraceful that people have to live under those conditions. It is something that we will now lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. I will further engage with the SAHRC chairperson to invite him on the ground to join me to look at this situation and have a look. According to our information in Ethekwini not outside there are only actually about 80 units built. There are more units being built but it is outside eThekwini.”

The provincial Department of Human Settlements says the construction of over 1800 temporary residential units spread across the affected areas, is under way.

Spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya maintains that some units are already complete.

Sibiya says, “About 567 temporary residential units have been completed to date with others in different stages of construction. We can also indicate that 44 Land parcels from the National Department of Public Works and KZN Department of Public Works and eThekwini Municipality have been identified totalling 78 hectares. Out of 82 mass care centres, 44 have been linked with possible land parcels identified by the government.”

The Department says it will be handing over the completed temporary units to beneficiaries in due course. It could not say exactly when this would be.

KwaZulu-Natal was declared a Disaster Area during devastating KZN Floods: