While Durban has imposed water restrictions to cope with the nationwide drought, the rain that has fallen doesn’t always bring prosperity for some of the city’s residents. Earlier this year, Kwazi Dlamini visited the Kennedy Road informal settlement where heavy rainfall means floods, destruction and sickness for its dwellers.
Khanyisile Nkosi, 26, unemployed, Kokstad
All I can say is that we have turned into pigs because this place is a pigsty when it has rained and the municipality doesn’t do anything to better the situation. I arrived here in 2014 to look for a job but I have not been lucky to one, I pay rent of R500 every month excluding electricity but I’m the one who sleeps in wet blankets and catches flu every now and then because of the wetness and filth. When you go to town you have to take two pairs of shoes with you – the first pair must be gumboots for walking in this place, then the other pair must be your nice shoes that you will wear after getting off this mud.
Sinazo Jijineka, 28, unemployed, Bizana
I rent here with the father of my child and the rain has affected us a lot, especially because we have a child, he’s still more vulnerable to disease so he gets sick often from the rain getting into our room. My child cannot even play outside like normal children in other places because the place is wet and has sinkholes. There was a heavy rain last year where all my documents were washed away by the rain and when we sleep we have to put our phones in plastics in case it rains. Even if the municipality gives us houses, they must move us away from this place, it is not good.“
Eugene Sphamandla Mkhize, 30, businessman, KwaMashu
I started selling here two years ago and the problem has always been with rainy days. We all love rain but when you stay in a place like this you never wish for rain – especially me as a businessman because when the water comes in, they ruin my stock. People also throw rubbish just on top of my spaza, so when it rains heavy all that rubbish washes towards my door and blocks customers. I know someone who broke a leg while coming from work after it had rained; this place is steep so it’s difficult to walk when it’s wet and it gets more difficult when I come from buying my stock and have to walk down.
Akhona Mthonga, 31, unemployed, Umtata
When it rains, the water comes from the ground and also comes from the roof because our roof is not strong enough or close together, we have to put containers where the water falls. We live in pain and we have lost hope, when it has been raining we cannot even get out of our rooms. Our children don’t go to school after the rain because this place is wet and muddy, we are literally floating in water here. There is a dumpsite on top of the hill; now can you imagine when it’s wet what mosquitoes do to us? We have mosquitoes every time of the day, they cannot go away because of this wetness.
Sipho Nongcangula, 24, piece job worker, Matatiele
I arrived here in 2012 and the situation has always been like this. When it rains, my room gets wet and I cannot go to work when it is like this. Last year, I had to send my kid back to the rural areas because she developed rash often from staying in a wet place like this and her school attendance got affected a lot. My room is facing the place where they throw rubbish so when it is damp the rubbish gets smelly and the smell comes straight to my room. I have no other way but to persevere.