By Saara Sacranie | 13 December 2019
Residents living in the informal settlements surrounding Mamelodi, Pretoria, were devastated by the the flooding of the Pienaars River after the persistent and heavy rainfall during the last week.
Over 700 structures were destroyed, leaving hundreds of families displaced instantly. Overnight, the lives of hundreds of men, women and children, were turned into chaos as they lost their homes and very few belongings.
The vulnerability of both the settlement and the residents towards such disasters has always been a threat due to the lack of sufficient infrastructure and housing.
This lack of substantial protection has resulted in residents, such as Onika Phahla, losing everything they own, including their ID documentation and household belongings, leaving them with nothing but the clothing they were wearing at the time of the floods.
Speaking to Salaamedia, she said, “President Ramaposa needs to provide the community with proper housing. Residents of the Mamelodi informal settlement have applied many years ago for RDP housing, however the government has not responded to us, but instead aided others that have been waiting for a far shorter period of time for the service, ultimately leaving the Mamelodi residents with no choice but to settle in areas that are safety risks, resulting in the current situation that we face.”
Salaamedia along with the Al-Imdaad Foundation collaborated to donate 103 mattresses and hygiene packs to the Tshwane Disaster Management Centre. Many of the victims were also taking refuge at the Baptist Methodist Church.
During the day many returned to the river in an attempt to salvage any of their belongings that were lost during the disaster.
Salaamedia’s Khotso Ramalula also interviewed Dr. Precious Motsepe, the co-founder of the Motsepe Foundation. She explained that they have taken action by providing the victims with water, food and blankets as well as toys to the children who were affected by the flood. She saw this as an extension of the Motsepe Foundation’s development work.
It has been a disastrous occurrence that has caused a humanitarian desperation for any aid and donations by the South African community. For more information contact the Tshwane Disaster Management directly.