Mamelodi flood victims seek help ahead of schools reopening

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Learners who lost everything during the recent floods in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, will have to face the New Year without school uniforms, shoes or even stationery.

The community of Eerste Fabriek informal settlement survived with clothes they were wearing when the Moretele River burst its banks and swept their shacks away.

They have been staying at the Mamelodi Baptist Church.

About 100 children must go back to school on Wednesday next week. The group’s representative at the church, Tulani Ndlovu, says they are desperate.

“Most of the kids here don’t have anything to go to school with because their uniforms were washed away by the floods. So, we are asking anyone that can assist with uniforms. We’ve got some already from civil society, but it’s not enough.”

A mother of two learners, Dimakatso Sono says they are desperate for help.

“I want a place because on Wednesday people are going to work, going to school and the bathroom is small.”

Ndlovu says since the visit by Gauteng Premier David Makhura after the floods, they have not received any help from the local and provincial governments in terms of support, trauma counselling, food or help with applying for IDs and birth certificates.

“Everyone disappeared into thin air. Up until today, we’re still struggling to get hold of anyone. The Home Affairs took data from the people who lost their IDs, out of 150 they did 25, as for Social Development and anybody else, nothing whatsoever. The social workers only come here and take the stats and then they go back again,” says Ndlovu.

He says promises to help bury a woman who died as a result of the floods, also came to nothing.

“One of the survivors, who lived here, passed away and then the government promised that they will go and assist that family and they never did a thing; nothing.”

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Ndlovu says they are dependent on donations from companies and neighbouring communities. He says although they are grateful to be able to live at the church, the situation has become untenable.

“It’s bad because the people are coming here for church. It’s a problem because every Sunday we wake up at 4 o’clock.”

The group has lived at the church since 10 December.