Umm Muhammed Umar
Spokesperson for the La Mercy Masjid, in Durban, Brother Naeem Joosub, spoke to Radio Islam about the situation there, in the aftermath of this weekend’s floods. Brother Naeem said that the situation was quite bad in terms of road network. He said, “the road network was completely destroyed. So, the first flood we’ve had a month ago, that basically took away the access of the bridge. If you know La Mercy well, you have to come over the Umdloti River and as you get over that bridge, you turn into La Mercy.” The bridge was damaged to the extent that it was not accessible to vehicles. Brother Naeem said, “we had to then make an alternative road to travel, it was a bit of a challenge, It took us almost 20 minutes more to our trip.”
Unfortunately, this past weekend saw KwaZulu-Natal endure further damage. The M4 highway was completely destroyed – Brother Naeem said that the entire road had been washed away. He said that the road between the famous Sea Bell restaurant and La Mercy Hotel was also completely washed away and that now, “we’re left with two separate sections of the beach road.”
Brother Naeem said that mudslides had engulfed residential roads, and that people’s homes had been severely flooded. Further, residents have been without water or electricity. He said, “We then had the alternative route that we needed to take, which was going through the residential areas to get onto the M2 again, because of that washout at the M4. But then we had a major washout in the residential area, where there was a massive sinkhole that formed in Genazzano Road, which is the exit/entry point that we would use.” He added, “So now we’ve having to veer around that sinkhole, and it’s a challenge with the amount of traffic that we need to get through.” He said that they were now trying to restrict access to the road for emergency use only.
Brother Neem said that the La Mercy Residents Action Group, led by the Ratepayers Association, have taken it upon themselves – “because municipality currently does not have any financial assistance that they could provide to us in terms of getting any repairs done to infrastructure” – to reach out to the community and contribute towards repairing and rebuilding. Brother Naeem said that he was part of the Human Aid team that runs the Tongaat area, and that they had been doing a lot of work there. He said, “And now it comes and hits us at home, literally. So, we now looking at providing aid to our community, and it’s sad that we’ve got to do that now.” He added, “we’ve got to step our game up and look after Tongaat, as well as the La Mercy area.” Brother Naeem said that there were people involved who were from different professional backgrounds, and various trades. He said, “And we’re all basically rolling our sleeves up, clubbing in, and getting in there and actually assisting and making things right.” He said, “So we’ve got we’ve got a few NGOs that are also assisting, and I head the Human Aid team, so we’re basically just upping our game in terms of providing, food aid, providing water, getting through other important to other items of need to the community, and we’ve always been doing that, through the riots, through the COVID period and we will just continue to do that in the community to stand together.”