A committee has been set up by the Gauteng Provincial Government to consider alternative accommodation for hundreds of displaced shack dwellers in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria.
The residents were left homeless following the incessant rains which lead to extensive floods in the province this week. Videos of shacks being swept away were widely spread on social media.
Currently accommodated at the Mamelodi Baptist Church, the affected residents have vowed not to return to the area which is along a floodplain.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited the displaced community members on Wednesday.
He said the committee, which consists of officials from the Premier’s Office, the provincial Human Settlements Department, City of Tshwane and various NGOs, would meet tomorrow to consider possible interventions and plans for accommodation.
“You have said you don’t want to return to the area due to the risks associated with it. You have said you are not leaving the church until alternative accommodation is found. We don’t want you to be in the church forever, a church is a place of prayer,” he said, having listened to the concerns of the people.
The Premier described the disaster as an emergency that needed an urgent intervention.
“We are working with NGOs, municipality and government departments,” he said.
He used the platform to warn residents against settling in hazardous areas, such as along river banks and flood plains, saying government would not be able to provide the needed infrastructure due the terrain.
“Most of the time as government we fight with communities because they just occupy land anywhere they see land,” he said.
Various NGOs and government departments have been to the church to donate food, blankets clothes and various other services.
“It’s a temporary arrangement,” said Makhura. “We want to make sure that you are out of here as soon as possible but you are not going back there. If you go back there, the rains will come again and we will be back here to help you again.”
The committee is expected to meet on Thursday and provide feedback on Friday.
“The committee is going to look at where we are going to relocate the people to. I do want to lie to you and say we already know where we are going to take you. We don’t know. They will meet tomorrow morning and on Friday they will give me a report on the way forward,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za