Ezakheni Section D, resident and pensioner Lydia Hlatswayo, 62, weeps as she says that she would “rather die” than continue living in these terrible conditions. “I want to die, I ask God, please let me die, because I cannot live like this anymore,”
wept Hlatswayo, after she painfully explained her battle with local municipalities for 12 years to help her fix her property.

Her problems began in 2006 after her yard was completely destroyed from water running onto her property. “At the time there was no storm water drain and when it rained the water would run like a river into my house. One time even my back wall was washed away.”

Despite the water overflowing into her yard, Hlatswayo explained that under water pipes and raw sewage was also being pushed up. She said that at night she cannot sleep because of the continued infestation of mosquitos and other insects. “The insects come up from the ground and invade my home. My house is always cold even in the dead of summer. My legs pain from the cold in the floor which rises from the water.”

Hlatswayo explained that she and her son were the only two people living in the house. “The house is in my name and my husband and I worked very hard to get it. All around the house, the grounds are completely soggy from water that is rising up from beneath it. At times there is so much water, that it stands for days before it disappears. The stagnant water even starts to smell,” she claimed.

She claimed the uThukela Municipality came out several times to her home, made “big holes” to fix something and then leaves. Yet the problem remains, she said.

“I need help, I want to die. I cannot live like this, said Hlatswayo. She said that her neighbours’ homes too were affected when it rains. “Somedays the water comes from the top streets and then just washes into our homes.” All along her house, paints and cement pieces are clearly seen as being washed away or braking off because of the damp rising. “Im going to wake up one morning and the whole house will be sinking or would have fallen on top us.”

Hlatswayo claimed that the municipality has not since returned or given any indication on what they are going to do to help her. “I am pleading to the officials to please help me.”

The municipality could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.