By: Zahid Jadwat
As President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cabinet ministers flocked to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the impact of the devastating floods that hit parts of the province this week, residents of Isipingo Beach, south of Durban, said they could not rely on the government for assistance when disaster struck.
Isipingo was one of the severely affected regions. Residents had to spring into action to rescue trapped residents and animals in a low-lying part of the town known as ‘Crab City’, where it is estimated that floodwaters rose beyond a depth of two metres on Tuesday.
They have accused the eThekwini Municipality’s disaster management team and their ward councillor of being missing in action both during and after the floods.
Community activist Hoosen Moolla said this was not the first time the community had to mobilise to defend itself in the face of disaster.
“Had we not commissioned our own initiative as a community, with our own boats and jet skis, a lot of lives would have been lost in the community. We did not receive assistance from any government departments. The community was on its own,” he said.
Moolla recalled the events of the unrest in July 2021, when communities across Durban had to resort to vigilantism to protect themselves in the face of the State’s alleged paralysis.
“We will have to sustain ourselves. During the time of looting, the community had to mobilise and protect the community themselves [because] there was no help at all. This is the second time we’re learning this lesson. We are on the ground, so nobody can tell us they were here,” he said.
Moolla is not the only irate member of the community. Afzal Kassim, who has volunteered to run the temporary shelter for nearly 200 displaced residents of the adjacent Dakota Informal Settlement, told Radio Islam that the local councillor is yet to offer any form of assistance.
Meanwhile, one of the displaced residents, who wished not to be named, said their pleas for RDP homes have fallen on deaf ears. She said they have had to rebuild their lives with each flood that had occurred in the area; the most recent of which was in 2019.
“There is nothing for us. We really need help in Dakota. We held a strike before, [but] the councillor doesn’t do anything,” she said, as she explained the challenges her community faces whenever heavy rains lead to floods in her area.
Neither the local ward councillor, Shad Nowbuth, nor the eThekwini Municipality responded to Radio Islam’s request for comment in light of the residents’ claims.