Hundreds of destitute people whose homes were destroyed by ferocious storms and fires in Utrecht in northern KwaZulu-Natal, will soon be smiling again.
Amajuba district residents were left homeless after torrential rains, accompanied by gale-force winds, wreaked havoc in rural areas, leaving a trail of destruction.
Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC for local government, housing and traditional affairs, will meet them tomorrow to ease their suffering.
The residents told Sowetanthe government had ignored their pleas to compensate them so that they could rebuild their homes.
Mabuyakhulu's intervention is part of a multimillion-rand programme to throw a lifeline to thousands of people who suffered a string of natural disasters recently.
Mabuyakhulu took over the municipal executive functions following council's reluctance to act on a report that revealed the former mayor, Mabhutana Khoza, senior councillors and officials, including the municipal manager, were implicated in fraud and corruption.
Mayor Jabulani Msibi said he was pleased the people would be helped by the government.
"When we took over the municipality, we promised people will be helped.
"The previous council compiled a fallacious list of names of people who were not affected by the storms or fires.
"But the people's prayers have been answered," Msibi said.
Concerned resident Themba Majola said they were still sleeping in tents. "God has answered our prayers.
We will get houses if our names are on the list," Majola said.