Mams West res­i­dents brace for heavy weather

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - SAKHILE NDLAZI [email protected]

AS THE SA Weather Ser­vice pre­dicts a 60% chance of rain­fall for the cap­i­tal city to­day, res­i­dents at the Eer­ste Fabrieke in­for­mal set­tle­ment in Mamelodi West are wor­ry­ing about a re­cur­rence of flood­ing.

Heavy rains con­tin­ued to pour down on Wed­nes­day, caus­ing panic among in­for­mal set­tlers liv­ing near riverbeds.

Late last year rain-trig­gered dis­as­ters, in­clud­ing flash floods and land­slides, dev­as­tated the Eer­ste Fabrieke in­for­mal set­tle­ment lo­cated on the riverbed.

More than 1 300 peo­ple were dis­placed when about 700 shacks were de­stroyed. While some were housed at a nearby church, other res­i­dents de­cided to go back and re­build their shacks. say­ing they had nowhere else to go.

Yes­ter­day, pan­icked res­i­dents could be seen pack­ing their be­long­ings into ve­hi­cles in case they had to flee.

Res­i­dents told the Pre­to­ria News that they didn’t want a re­peat of what hap­pened in De­cem­ber and that they would rather be safe than sorry.

One res­i­dent, car­ry­ing a sleep­ing bag, said: “Dur­ing the flood, I lost my clothes, money and ap­pli­ances.”

Many other res­i­dents were seen mov­ing their be­long­ings to neigh­bours who were on higher ground.

Ac­cord­ing to the SA Weather Ser­vice, there is a 70% chance of rain from to­day and to­mor­row.

“There will be thun­der­show­ers for most of Fri­day and Satur­day, with highs of 25 de­grees,” it said.

Pre­vi­ously, res­cue divers had to be brought in to bring some relief dur­ing floods. Some res­i­dents stood on top of their shack roofs, while some at­tempted to swim. Oth­ers piled up stones, tyres and wood to make a cause­way.

More than 400 peo­ple are cur­rently liv­ing in a Bap­tist church in Mamelodi West, uncer­tain about their fu­ture.

Last year, Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura said an in­terim task team com­mit­tee would or­gan­ise new hous­ing.

“In all these ar­eas, we want peo­ple out of these com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties be­fore Christ­mas. Be­cause if they stay there longer, it cre­ates new haz­ards. We have chil­dren here, el­derly peo­ple. We don’t want a sit­u­a­tion where you cre­ate new prob­lems,” he said at the time.

Pro­vin­cial govern­ment spokesper­son Thabo Masebe said res­i­dents would be placed on new land in the new year (2020).

Ac­cord­ing to Pas­tor Them­be­lani Jen­tile, the pro­vin­cial depart­ment had asked for an ex­ten­sion un­til the end of Jan­uary.

“They said they had al­lo­cated land on the out­skirts of Mamelodi, but were wait­ing to seal the deal. They asked that victims be housed un­til the end of the month,” he said.

With heavy rains, floods, high winds and even tor­na­does re­cently wreak­ing havoc across many parts of South Africa, Auto & Gen­eral In­surance is urg­ing South Africans to re­main vig­i­lant and adopt a more proac­tive ap­proach to avoid dam­age to prop­erty, in­jury and loss of life.

It of­fers the fol­low­ing prac­ti­cal tips to stay safe in ad­verse weather con­di­tions:

● Stand­ing firm: Make sure that your out­door fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories are safely stored or firmly se­cured and that all gates and doors that need to be locked, are.

● Be­ware the bolt: Heavy rains are of­ten as­so­ci­ated with light­ning. It’s best to have surge pro­tec­tion plugs in place and/or to un­plug ap­pli­ances be­fore the storm ar­rives.

● Sand savvy: It is sen­si­ble to pur­chase your own sup­ply of sand­bags, espe­cially if you live in a flood-prone area. These can be placed against door­ways and low-level vents in times of flood­ing to help min­imise the amount of wa­ter that en­ters your home.

● High value, higher up: Move high value items to the high­est pos­si­ble floor or shelf if a flood threat­ens.

| SAKHILE NDLAZI

WA­TER ac­cu­mu­la­tion near the in­for­mal set­tle­ment at Eer­ste Fabrieke, Mamelodi.

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