Storm victims want homes

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Hundreds of victims of a tornado that left them homeless four years ago have accused authorities of attending to the plight of recent wild fires victims, while they are left to live in tents.

The tornado victims in Dannhauser, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, came out in large numbers to demanding to be the first to benefit from the government's relief fund.

The victims, who live in the impoverished Dannhausser area which was devastated by a tornado in 2003, said the government had only donated food, clothes, blankets and tents.

They have been using tents as their homes since then.

However, the local municipality has promised to rebuild their homes after receiving R1,8 million to put up new houses.

Their main complaint was that victims of the recent wild fires were now given priority over them.

Themba Mhlongo, of the Umzinyathi area near Waterval, said they were given tents as alternative homes again last year.

"We were promised that our houses will be rebuilt.

"The municipality officials came to register our names after a storm razed our homes in 2003 and again last year but we have been waiting ever since," he said.

Mvulani Motha, head of community services in the municipality, said the provincial department of local government, housing and traditional affairs had given them about R1,8 million to build houses.

He said many areas within the Dannhauser municipality suffered after catastrophic tornadoes every year.

"We're aware of the 2003 storm victims and they will get help soon since the housing project is underway.

"We will also help people who stay near the coal mine because they are currently living in unhealthy homes due to mining," said Motha.

He said more than 200 houses would be built at Ramaphosa in Hattengspruit.

Last week, more than 66 families were left homeless when a tornado struck yet again.

Motha said they had were now working around the clock to assist those families that had been left homeless.