By Krishnee Naidoo

Major disaster relief efforts and clean-up operations were rolled out in Isipingo and surrounding areas headed by Durban Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede, Deputy Mayor, Cllr Fawzia Peer, local councillor, Sunil Brijmohan and other eThekwini councillors and Executive Committee officials following the flash flood that swept through Durban on Tuesday leaving a trail of massive destruction including several deaths.
eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa said, “The devastating rains caused massive destruction to roads, buildings and infrastructure in the areas south of the city. The clean-up operation began in the Isipingo area which was declared a disaster area. All council departments from Cleansing and Solid Waste to Roads and Storm Water Management, from Water and Electricity Units to Parks Department were on hand to repair, restore and ensure that areas were cleaned up and communities were assisted. The city fixed road infrastructure, cleared sand build up, unblocking drains, removed fallen trees and went beyond the call of duty cleaning streams of filth, litter, old tyres and even vehicles that were washed away during the storm.”

“Councillors, officials and volunteers were deployed to communities in Umlazi, Folweni and KwaMakhutha while Mayor Gumede visited the community in Malukazi bringing hope to the impoverished community by making sure that blankets, mattresses and food parcels were distributed. Deputy Mayor, Fawzia Peer also visited Montclair where a building had collapsed,” said Mthethwa.

Mayor Zandile Gumede said, “It is about working together as a community to assist those affected by the storm. Communities have been devastated and look to us leadership for assistance. I assure communities that eThekwini Municipality is there to assist where there is major damage.” Mayor Gumede also used the opportunity to urge communities not to build structures on the flood plain as it depletes the natural vegetation that prevents flooding and to dispose of the litter responsibly. Mayor Gumede also thanked the numerous volunteers from the community for their commitment and generosity towards their neighbours.

Cllr Sunil Brijmohan said, “The community is still reeling from the epic devastation that struck and left death and disaster in its wake. Families have been plunged into mourning as loved ones drowned in the flash flood, whilst scores of community members watched helplessly as their property crumbled around them and their valuables and belongings were washed away. It strengthened the community and gave them hope to know that their losses have been acknowledged and that disaster relief is on hand to help them during this difficult period. Isipingo will rise from the desolate state that it is in and as a community together with our leadership, supported by our Mayor and Deputy Mayor, we will emerge stronger as a community.”

“The municipality is set to continue with the multidisciplinary regeneration campaign in the Isipingo area which aims to arrest the decline and deterioration of the area. The city aims to address key strategic issues and challenges in the precinct and has taken an integrated approach to service delivery in the area since July. As a secondary CDB, Isipingo is seen as a key economic hub for the city and the on-going operation includes tackling issues of problem buildings as well as illegal business operations, bylaw infringements, litter, pollution and social ills,” said Mthethwa.

The municipality calls on all community members, business and other stakeholders to take ownership of their areas and play a role towards achieving this vision by taking pride in their surroundings and ensuring compliance with the various city bylaws.