Keetmanshoop women and children suffering from flooding

27 Dec 2013 14:10pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 27 DEC (NAMPA) – The shacks of about 114 residents of the Ileni settlement in Keetmanshoop were again this week flooded with rainwater.
The residents were forcefully moved to Ileni in August 2012 from the municipal plot they seized behind the Tseiblaagte residential area.
They have made several pleas to the local authority to be moved away from that reception area.
Three women Nampa spoke to on Friday said the reception area where their shacks are situated is on a steep slope, where rain water usually flows.
They complained that just like last year, their houses were flooded again this week and properties damaged.
The residents claim that they were allegedly promised by town mayor Moses Titus that they will only stay there for two months before they are relocated to the Koppieslaagte residential area, where they will stay permanently.
However, this promise has yet to come to fruition.
It rains more during night time, and rain water flows in under the shacks on the ground where many of the residents sleep, including small children.
They want the local authority to relocate them soon because they are suffering. The residents also suggested that the municipality block one side of the area where the water starts flowing and divert it away from their houses.
Resident Lorencia Kinda said they can hardly sleep at night when it rains, and she is forced to sit on a chair with her two-week-old baby and two young sons, because their shack is flooded with water.
“I spend the nights seated on a chair with my children. It is cold, but I have no option. I tried to block the water with sand but it didn’t help,” Kinda told Nampa.
She also said the area is not safe for children, as sewage from the broken public flush toilets flow in front of the shacks, and small children sometimes drink and wash themselves in such water.
At that moment, this reporter witnessed one of Kinda’s sons washing his feet in sewage water, before being scolded by his mother and dragged away.
“We tried to speak to the mayor several times last year and this year, but he was never at his office. We are still waiting for them to relocate us or block the water flow. This area is a river, and water flowed here before they brought us here,” said Kinda.
Another resident Katrina Kopper added that her house and many others’ leak from the roof when it rains, because their old corrugated iron sheets used in building their homes cannot be fixed properly.
“Everything is wet inside. We have nowhere to sleep when the rain comes, and we have to wake up and remain seated for the whole night. We can buy new corrugated iron sheets to build proper houses, but then the water will continue to come in from the ground,” Kopper said.
Antoinette Basson also complained they are tired of waiting for the municipality to respond to their calls for removal to a better living area and maintenance of the public toilets.
Basson noted that the door locks for the toilets provided by the municipality were stolen, leaving the facilities open to anyone, including children who vandalise and throw stones into the toilet pots causing blockages.
“I went to the municipality and informed (acting Town Council) CEO Quinton Visagie about our toilets and flooding. They said they will send people to fix the toilets but up to today no one was sent here,” Kopper said.
Andrew Bloedooght told this agency last year that when they approached Titus, he changed the promise and told them that instead, they should just stay where they are and apply for the Build-Together Housing programme if they need better housing.
“He came here and when we gave him our grievances. He responded that even his house gets flooded when it rains. I think he is lying about that,” Bloedooght informed Nampa at the time.
Approached for comment, Visagie responded that he cannot remember talking to Basson about broken toilets, and only recalls talking about the issue to someone else in a different area.
“The woman who spoke to me is not from that area you are referring to. I told her that we will fix the facilities early next year,” Visagie responded.
On his part, Titus denied having made any promises to relocate the residents, saying “there was no promise - they must be satisfied with the land they have because all plots in Keetmanshoop are the same”.
The mayor also said he was misunderstood when he said the whole of Keetmanshoop, including his house, has a problem when it comes to water flow.
Titus said he never said his house is also flooded.
On a positive note, the mayor stated that the local authority will plan ways to avoid the flooding and fix the toilets next year, but they will never relocate the people to another area.