South Africa 14.8.2018 09:33 am

Government appeals for calm amid ongoing Mpumalanga protests

The aftermath of Monday's protest action. Image: Mpumalanga News

The aftermath of Monday's protest action. Image: Mpumalanga News

The Mpumalanga department of human settlements, City of Mbombela and SAPS have appealed for calm following Monday’s violent protests in KaNyamazane.

Residents took to the streets decrying the apparently slow progress of fixing their storm-ravaged houses at KaNyamazane, Tekwane and Ntokozweni.

The community claims that the contractors are slow in rehabilitating their storm-ravaged houses, and as a result, they have been left in the lurch, they told Mpumalanga News.

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Following heavy storms in May, the department of human settlements appointed a consultant to assess the extent of the damage, and established that 2 130 houses were affected.

“Subsequently, four contractors were appointed to rehabilitate all the houses that were affected by the disaster in the three areas. Contractors are already on site busy with renovations of the affected houses. One of the contractors is responsible to remove the asbestos roofing whilst the other three are mandated to fix the walls, erect trusses, roof and ceiling,” reads a statement from the department of human settlements.

Soon after the storm wreaked havoc at the municipality, temporary tents were provided by the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (CoGTA) and Ehlanzeni District Municipality to provide cover of the damaged houses and shelter to the affected beneficiaries.

According to the department, an amount of R19 million has been budgeted by the department to handle disaster incidents in the current financial year. However, this amount will not be sufficient to cater for all the affected houses, hence the department is in the process of sourcing additional funding from the national department.

The department further states the appointed contractors started work on in July, and that all constructions are expected to be completed in three months’ time.

“It must be added though that the department will intensify its inspection on the houses following beneficiaries’ complains of slow progress by the contractors. In the meantime, the police are handling the protests currently underway at KaNyamazane. Engagements will also ensue between all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the matter,” the statement concludes.

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